Vocational skills development – the gateway to the world of work

Quality vocational skills development that enables trainees to gain a foothold in the labour market and to find and keep jobs with decent working conditions can contribute to poverty reduction. The goal is economic development that benefits all. The SDC works with the public authorities and the private sector to develop training programmes tailored to the needs of the market.

Focus of the SDC's activities

The SDC supports a vocational skills development approach that can provide trainees with the skills they need to take part in the labour market and which gives them access to reasonably paid work. The idea is to enable them to acquire the professional skills to take part in the formal or informal labour market either as employees or self-employed workers.

The SDC wants to ensure that young trainees, once trained, can go on to find employment and contribute to productivity growth. The aim is to increase training opportunities and to ensure that all sections of the population – the poor and not so poor, women and men, and urban and rural residents – can benefit from them.

In order to ensure that training programmes are optimally tailored to the needs of trainees and the economy, the SDC makes every effort to involve both the public authorities and the private sector in the planning and implementation stages. The most promising training programmes comprise theoretical and practical instruction – like Switzerland’s dual vocational education and training system.

The SDC is working to improve vocational skills development opportunities, but also encourages the recognition of informal work experience and learning, including self-taught skills, which many professionals can bring to the table.

Depending on the circumstances and contexts, the SDC recommends including introductory modules for certain trades in compulsory school curricula. Career counselling services have proved useful in secondary schools. Ideally, vocational skills development should provide a bridge between basic education and the world of work. With this in mind, the SDC complements vocational skills development programmes with activities to strengthen the private sector and create jobs.

Background

In 2017, some 71 million young people of working age are unemployed. Nearly twice this number are living in poverty, often because they lack education and training and cannot find a decent job. Only 11% of young people in secondary education around the world are enrolled in vocational programmes.

There is a clear need to increase training opportunities to enable young people to prove their potential on the labour market. Vocational skills development, like basic education, is a fundamental condition for economic and social development. It is critically important for vocational skills development to build on high-quality basic education and, if necessary, to close existing knowledge gaps.

Quality vocational skills development only makes sense, however, if those who graduate from vocational skills development programmes find employment opportunities. According to the World Bank, 40 million new jobs are expected to be created annually to absorb the growing number of young people entering the labour market, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Providing a skilled workforce can boost business productivity and competitiveness, which has a positive effect on economic growth and job creation. Offering prospects to the vulnerable and meeting the aspirations of young people is essential to avoid wasting human and economic potential.

Testimonials from beneficiaries

People who have benefited from vocational training talk about their experiences.

Gender and skills development

The SDC integrates respect for gender equality in its projects and ensures that women have access to the job market.

Current Projects

Object 13 – 24 of 119

Vocational training and employment support services (VTESS)

01.08.2019 - 31.07.2023

The Vocational Training and Employment Support Services (VTESS) Project supports the government of Laos in institutionalizing a national inclusive system for the integration of early school leavers into technical training courses and further education. In the current phase, 3000 disadvantaged young men and women will benefit from improved, labour market relevant training courses. At the same time, the establishment of employment support services to help graduates find employment or self-employment will be piloted. 


FarhangSara - Promotion of Cultural and Artistic Expressions

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2022

The project fosters peaceful interactions within a divided Afghan society marked by decades of conflict. The unifying potential of cultural heritage and the promotion of artistic expression contribute to refocus on common ground. To ensure the protection and promotion of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the project supports conducive cultural policies, strengthens partnerships with public institutions, private sector, civil society, media and individual artists all over the country.


Enhance employability of migrants in Urban Cairo

01.07.2019 - 30.06.2023

Food-processing and the food service sector is ranked as Egypt’s second largest manufacturing industry This project supports the employability of vulnerable Egyptians and migrants, especially women, in the food sector.


Promoting Market Oriented Skills Training in the Great Lakes region (PROMOST)

01.07.2019 - 30.07.2023

PROMOST contributed to increased employment and income generation in the Great Lakes region by providing access and enhancing quality of vocational training. Building on the achievements of the previous two phases, the third phase will focus on the sustainability of the interventions, on the labor market insertion of graduates and on the institutionalization of short-term training and apprentice-ships, thus permitting the phasing-out of Swiss contributions and the continuous increasing of national and regional commitments to professional skills education, especially in Rwanda.


Skills for Jobs

01.05.2019 - 30.06.2023

Lack of market-relevant skills is still an obstacle to Albania’s economic development and to reduce (youth) unemployment. The project is supporting the government to address this by reforming the vocational education and training (VET) system. Private sector will continue to play a bigger role in VET definition and provision. Already more than half of all VET students and 10% of all (short term) trainees will have access to improved and labour-market oriented skills development enhancing their prospects for a decent job and increased income.


Youth-Inclusive Rural Finance (YIRF)

15.03.2019 - 31.08.2025

Millions of Tanzanian youth living in rural areas, in particular young women, are affected by vulnerable employment. Based on the Swiss added values on vocational skills, innovations and private sector development, the program will increase gainful self-employment through tailored digital financial products and services. Beyond results at the community level, policy dialogue, research and capacity building of private and public institutions will also contribute to more inclusive financial policies.


Project completed

Program Contribution to Terre des Hommes Schweiz 2019 - 2020

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2020

Youth, especially girls, are far more exposed to missing out economic opportunities, gender based violence and HIV-Aids than adults. TdH Schweiz promotes social participation of young people in nine countries in Africa and Central and South America, with a specific focus on prevention of violence, promotion of income opportunities and improving the reproductive health of youth. With its combined approach, involving individuals, communities and institutions it reaches out to over 190000 peers and some 2000 institutions.


Program Contribution to Brücke – Le Pont 2019 - 2020

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2021

Brücke-Le pont is an independent organization established by Travail.Suisse and the Catholic workers' movement (KAB). It has a strong support base in Switzerland and more than 60 years of experience in development cooperation in the South. Its program "Decent Work” includes some 30 projects in Togo, Benin, Salvador, Honduras, Brazil and Bolivia. The programme improves lives of disadvantaged people through vocational trainings, improved access to the labour market, income generation and improved respect of labour rights.


Project completed

Vocational Education and Training Phase III (VET III) “Youth Employment Promotion”

Youth selected their future jobs

01.01.2019 - 30.06.2021

The last phase of the project aims at consolidating best practices, streamlining them into the legislative framework and strengthening the capacities of national partners. The approaches and services tested by the project for youth employment, which are based on Swiss and international successful practices in employment promotion, will be integrated into the public systems to improve youth employment policies and their implementation, benefiting all young men and women.


Developing Skills for Better Employment

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

The economic growth of Albania has only recently been translated into labour market improvements. Unemployment remains to be high, especially among youth (24.5%). The project supports national institutions responsible for vocational training and employment to deliver coordinated and demanddriven services. 33'000 vocational school students will benefit from labour market oriented vocational training offer and 5'000/6% of registered unemployed job seekers from improved employment promotion measures.


SDC Education Fund

01.01.2019 - 31.12.2022

As part of its increased commitment for Education and of the implementation of SDC’s Education Strategy, the SDC launches an Education Fund in order to incentivize innovation and the application of new approaches in basic education/vocational skills development and through educational activities across sectors. Innovation can have a catalytic effect on the effectiveness of programmes in and through education. Education is a core enabler for sustainable development and is an important lever in Switzerland’s commitment to promote human and economic development, peace and stability. 


Public Private Development Partnership to improved Plumbing Education in Ukraine

01.10.2018 - 28.02.2023

The mismatch of skills and qualifications with the needs of the economy remains an important cause of low productivity in Ukraine. This Public Private Development Partnership aims at improving the quality and relevance of vocational education and training for plumbers. Improved skills and knowledge tailored to the needs of the market will contribute to increase employability and incomes of young people.

Object 13 – 24 of 119