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 25 – 36 of 119

Improving farm productivity in Georgia through dual vocational education and training

Three people in a greenhouse.

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022

Agriculture is Georgia's most important sector. However, farming remains uncompetitive as farmers' skills are out of step with the job market and technological developments. Switzerland is continuing to support vocational education and training to improve productivity, farm income and the employment situation for students of agriculture.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Georgia
Vocational training
Agriculture & food security
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Agricultural services & market
Rural development

01.09.2018 - 31.08.2022


CHF  7’303’140



Scaling Up Youth Employment in Agriculture Initiative

01.08.2018 - 31.10.2023

Education systems in Southern Africa do not prepare youth for work; they cannot access or create economic opportunities and ignore the available options. The project will scale up in Southern Africa a model already tested by Switzerland in Tanzania. It will improve (self)-employment of 20’000 young women and men in Zimbabwe and Zambia by strengthening their skills and matching them with existing job opportunities, thereby contributing to the implementation of youth policies in-country and regionally.


Vocational Skills Development Programme (VSDP)

01.05.2018 - 31.12.2022

Over 11’000 women and men will directly benefit from improved access to relevant and recognised skill development and employment opportunities in selected urban and rural areas, particularly in the South East of Myanmar, Yangon and Mandalay. The programme will further contribute to strengthening the overall vocational training system in Myanmar through strategic partnerships with the government of Myanmar and private sector partners from selected industries.


IBC-Improving protection, social cohesion and skills development services for Syrian and host communities in Kilis

01.04.2018 - 31.07.2019

There are almost 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, residing in different provinces across the country, mainly in non-camp settings. Their vulnerabilities are growing and tensions between them and host communities are on the rise. The national NGO IBC, active in humanitarian relief and emergency aid, aims with the proposed project to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugees, while focusing on strengthening social cohesion between host communities and refugees.


Project completed

COMUNDO – PC 2018

01.03.2018 - 28.02.2019

COMUNDO’s focus is on knowledge exchange between professionals working on a voluntary basis (PEZA) and local partner organisations (PO) with the objective of institutional and capacity development of the PO. It improves individual and collective competencies, organisational development and networks of the PO. The supported POs contribute to social inclusion and equal livelihood assets access/protection of vulnerable groups. In Switzerland COMUNDO sensitizes civil society (CS) and politic decision makers to responsible action and behaviour.


ProJoven: Vocational training for young people at risk of exclusion

Employment and job placement

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021

In phase II, ProJoven contributes to the labour insertion of approximately 6,000 young people who are at risk in the Central District, the Gulf of Fonseca region, and the Muskitia/Atlantic region. This represents at least 80% of the 7,500 youth trained through a high quality vocational training/labour insertion system aligned with market demands in the production, service and tourism sectors. The training/labour insertion system also incorporates a psycho-social focus to enhance the sustainability of results.


Project completed

Eritrea UNDP Skills and Migration Project

01.01.2018 - 31.12.2019

The Swiss Development Cooperation will contribute to the second phase of this UNDP project aiming at expanding economic opportunities for youth through skills development and improving the enabling environment for employment creation and business.  In parallel, the project supports the Eritrean Government in improving its migration governance capacities. 


Public Investment in Energy Efficiency Phase 2 (PIE2)

Openning launch of the thermofitted kindergarden in Songinokhairhan district

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2021

PIE2 aims to increase effectiveness of Public Investment Management (PIM) and of Public Finance Management (PFM) replicating and upscaling the achievements of PIE1 in the two poorest districts of Ulaanbaatar city. Improved PIM and PFM capacities, practices, procedures and regulations will be applied to the thermoretrofitting of public buildings, i.e. 20 schools and kindergartens, aiming for demonstration effect for replication. The need to improve education facilities corresponds to a top priority for UB citizens.


Project completed

Promoting Healthy Lifestyles and Gender Equitable Attitudes among Young Men and Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

01.12.2017 - 31.12.2020

Attitudes and behaviors of the current generation of young people in BiH are still shaped by patriarchal values, which influence the lifestyles of boys and girls and their respective vulnerability to health risks. Young men are more inclined to engage in harmful and dangerous activities and are much more likely to use violence - against women and peers - than women. The proposed intervention will promote healthier lifestyles and challenge existing gender stereotypes by working with young men, as well as women, in schools and local communities.


Revitalising labour market in Moldova

Two young women checking cables.

01.12.2017 - 30.06.2022

With Moldova facing high unemployment and a slowdown in growth, the SDC is funding a project designed to offer young job seekers alternatives to emigration and to improve the country's economic situation. Switzerland is supporting reforms aimed at training a qualified workforce and improving the investment climate. This will not only promote demand-driven training but also help create new jobs in the private sector.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Moldova
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
Business support & economic inclusion

01.12.2017 - 30.06.2022


CHF  6’680’000



Project completed

Eritrea Vocational Skills Training

01.10.2017 - 30.04.2021

The Swiss Development Cooperation will implement in this pilot phase 2 projects in vocational skills training in Eritrea. One project is designed as a contribution to ongoing projects of Don Bosco, the other to a project of the “Schweizerisches Unterstützungskomitee für Eritrea. The objectives of the phase are: (i) enhancing the training of teachers and increasing numbers of students having access to trainings and (ii) building a relation of trust with the Eritrean authorities in order to open a broader policy dialogue between the two countries


UNited For Youth Employment in Cambodia

01.09.2017 - 29.02.2020

Youth in Cambodia, in particular new entrants to the labour market, face critical challenges in accessing decent and productive employment opportunities. They have limited access to relevant skills, quality education, entrepreneurship training, information about markets and labour rights. With SDC’s contribution, the UN joint programme will support young women and men to access to (self-) employment opportunities and decent jobs. 

Object 25 – 36 of 119