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

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VSDP - Vocational Skills Development Programme

01.04.2023 - 31.03.2027

COVID-19 and the military coup had a negative impact on the availability of jobs, economic resilience and access to training in Myanmar. This last phase of the VSDP project aims to provide an alternative for women and youth to get relevant training and (self-) employment while supporting micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their income, contribute to learning and create jobs. The project builds on Switzerland’s strategic position and experience in the vocational training sector.


Swiss contribution to KfW Regional Challenge Fund for the Western Balkans

15.11.2022 - 31.12.2027

Switzerland is investing in vocational education and training as well as in labour-market insertion of unemployed youth through all of its bilateral cooperation programs in the Western Balkans. This contribution will allow Switzerland to join forces with Germany in efficiently raising the quality and labor-market orientation of VET offers across the region, while at the same time fostering sustainable partnerships between VET providers and companies for work-based learning.  


Increase Cabo Delgado

01.11.2022 - 31.10.2024

Applying the triple nexus approach, the project aims at creating an enabling environment to build resilience, foster economic development and social cohesion among the conflict affected communities of Cabo Delgado province through the improvement of essential services (energy, water); support of economic development (capacity building, income generation); peacebuilding and conflict mitigation through social cohesion activities between internally displaced population and Host Communities. 


Sri Lanka: Skills for Sustainable Growth

01.11.2022 - 31.12.2025

The current crisis in Sri Lanka is strongly affecting the country’s population. Switzerland and Sri Lanka have a migration partnership. Therefore, Switzerland has a strong interest in supporting skills development in the country. This project will train the Sri Lankan Vocational Training Authority to deliver an international standard curriculum in the hospitality sector to its students, combined with practical learning in hotels. Hence, the students will have better access to employment opportunities.


Education for Employment

01.07.2022 - 30.06.2026

The project addresses the high youth unemployment rate in North Macedonia (33%), caused by the mismatch of the skills provided by the education system and those required by the economy. The project will support the Ministry of Education and Science and the private sector to strengthen the newly established dual school- and company-based vocational education and training system.


UNHCR – Solution Strategies for Education and Livelihood of Afghan Refugees in Pakistan

01.06.2022 - 31.05.2026

As part of Switzerland’s commitment to financing sustainable solutions for Afghan refugees, the contribution to UNHCR in Pakistan aims at improving the education and livelihoods prospects of around 60’000 Afghan refugee youths in three provinces of Pakistan. It strengthens Switzerland’s pledge at the Global Refugee Forum 2019 scaling up its support to the inclusion of refugee children in education in line with “SDC’s Education Strategy.


Market Alliances for Rural Development

01.05.2022 - 30.04.2026

A majority of rural inhabitants in Georgia rely on incomes from agriculture and the use of natural resources. The project where Switzerland contributes will strengthen their access to markets (sale, inputs). It will enable rural producers to enhance the quality and scale of production, improve resilience to changing climate, and access domestic and export markets, which will contribute to raising incomes, increasing inclusion and the quality of the living environment in rural areas.


Rural Markets

01.01.2022 - 30.09.2023

The political and health crisis in recent years has affected the economic activity of the Family Production Units (UPFs, in Spanish), which is why their resilience needs to be strengthened. The market development approach, applied in phases I and II of the project, has proven its potential to solve major bottlenecks.  In the last phase, the proposal is to consolidate and scale up the achievements in the market systems, as well as of the public and private services supporting them, focusing on knowledge management and sustainability mechanisms.


Contribution to the UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR) and the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP)

01.01.2022 - 31.12.2025

The Global Education Monitoring Report and the International Institute for Educational Planning contribute to ensure equitable, inclusive quality education for all (SDG 4) by producing rigorous evidence, data and recommendations on education and by strengthening education systems’ policies, planning and management. Their work is critical for SDC’s global and bilateral policy dialogue and Switzerland’s added value on systems strengthening and evidence based policy and practice.


Vocational Skills Development in Egypt

01.12.2021 - 30.06.2026

Over 1 million young people enter the Egyptian labor market every year. A well governed Technical Vocation Education and Training (TVET) system is needed to ensure that skills match the demand, young people are integrated in the labor market and earn a decent income. Switzerland will co-finance BMZ’s Technical Support for the Comprehensive Technical Education Initiative (TCTI), and contribute to the qualitative development and expansion of dual Vocational Education and Training (VET) by integrating the private sector requests and using a sectoral approach.


Donor Commitee for dual Vocational Education and Training (DCdVET) and specific thematic support in Switzerland

01.12.2021 - 30.11.2024

The dual vocational education training (VET) system has a long tradition in German-speaking countries, contributing to employment and income. Its adaptation in development contexts is often complex and challenging. By fostering networks between donor agencies on dual VET and by tapping into the experience of VET-communities, an exchange of best practices and synergies is realized that will improve VET projects and systems in partner countries and lead to a better international positioning of dual VET approaches.


Modernizing VET in Agriculture in Armenia

01.12.2021 - 31.08.2025

While 37% of Armenia’s labour force is employed in agriculture, men and women do not earn sufficient income, incl. due to a lack of professional skills. This multi-stakeholder intervention, which includes a SDC contribution, further develops country-wide work-based learning education, strengthens specialized institutions and modernizes the regulatory framework, enabling professionals and graduates to acquire relevant qualification, find employment or establish their own businesses.

Object 1 – 12 of 148