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 1 – 12 of 162

Appui à la formation professionnelle duale au Rwanda

01.08.2023 - 31.12.2027

To achieve the development aspirations of Rwanda, one of the critical elements is to build strong bridges between the world of work and training institutions. This project aims to improve the quality of education by emphasizing on strengthening national mechanisms for decision-making, system integration and active engagement of the private sector in the skills development process. It will therefore focus more on institutionalization and sustainability by integrating all the stakeholders in a high-performance and locally adapted TVET system.


Skills Development for Employment (SD4E)

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2027

Albania is reforming the vocational education and training as well as employment services to increase people’s employability, particularly of women, youth as well as people with disabilities and low-income. This final phase puts the focus on strengthening the capacities of the line ministry and its subordinated national agencies as well as on consolidating, upscaling and transferring the developed policies and regulations as well as best practices to complete the reform process. 


System Strengthening Partnership Programme of the Ministry of Education Jordan and through UNESCO

01.07.2023 - 31.12.2025

In Jordan, the access to inclusive, protective quality education for vulnerable young people is impacted by natural and human-made hazards, including the protracted Syria crisis and climate change. Switzerland’s contribution to UNESCO for the System Strengthening Partnership Programme of the Ministry of Education enhances governance for evidence-based and crisis-sensitive education planning and delivery, as per Jordan’s Education Strategic Plan 2018-2025.


Strengthening Vocational Education and Training - SVET

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2026

The project will enhance the employability of young people by improving the Technical Vocational Education and Training System (TVET) of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This will be achieved by ensuring that practical training is conducted on the job and that collaboration among employers, TVET schools and education authorities is institutionalised and anchored in the regulatory framework. TVET students will acquire labour market relevant skills that will allow them to find decent jobs, while private sector will be more competitive with skilled labour. 


Skills for Jobs (S4J)

01.07.2023 - 30.06.2027

Albania is reforming its vocational education and training system to upgrade the students’ employability. S4J promotes work-based learning, digitalization and diversification of the VET offer, as per the labour market needs. To sustain the reform process, the exit phase consolidates the transfer of these innovative processes to additional VET providers and companies.


South Sudan: Plan International, Integrated Protection, Skills Building and Learning for Empowerment of Adolescents, Youth, families and communities in Yei, Morobo and Kajokeji

15.06.2023 - 14.06.2025

This project seeks to complement the previous phase of an integrated protection intervention. It will build on key successes, achievements and key lessons learned through the provision of integrated life-saving emergency child protection services, skills building, empowerment of adolescent youth and communities in the targeted locations. 


Vocational Training in Sri Lanka (VTSL)

01.06.2023 - 31.05.2026

The effects of the crisis in Sri Lanka had negative effects on the vocational training sector and are strongly affecting the country’s population and its access to work. On the basis of the Swiss - Sri Lankan migration partnership, the proposed project will improve the quality of vocational training, make it accessible to young women and men from rural areas, members of minorities, and people with disabilities in Sri Lanka in line with the market’s demand.


Women and Girls First

01.05.2023 - 31.12.2026

In Myanmar, the pandemic and military coup have increased the risks for gender-based violence (GBV) and deep-rooted gender inequality. Through the Women and Girls First programme, Switzerland supports women, girls and young people to realise their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and fulfil their potential. It does so by strengthening community-based and ethnic systems to be more responsive to needs related to GBV, SRHR and mental health.


VSDP - Vocational Skills Development Programme

01.04.2023 - 31.07.2028

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.


Mercy Corps: Strengthening Resilience in Agriculture, Livelihoods and Markets through Local Institutions in Greater Mundri

01.02.2023 - 31.01.2026

To sustainably move households out of chronic vulnerability, poverty and food insecurity by facilitating economic recovery and support for smallholder farmers and non-farm microenterprises. The support will consist of market system development (MSD), value chain development, vocational skills development and improved methods of agriculture, such as agro-ecology and conservation. The intervention will focus on women and youth and is highly relevant in a post-conflict context like Mundri (South Sudan).


Empowering vulnerable youth and women in fragile situation to foster community Resilience and cohesion through peaceful co-existence and promotion of livelihoods initiatives

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2025

The goal of the project is to foster conditions for peace and promote community resilience in the Equatorias region of South Sudan through a combination of activities aiming at (1) building and supporting a workforce of peacemakers, (2) providing trainings in conflict resolution, (3) fostering social cohesion and conflict prevention through locally held community dialogues, (4) promoting entrepreneurship and sustainable livelihoods, notably by supporting women- and youth-led small income generating businesses, and (5) promoting sports as a platform for fostering peace and social cohesion among the youth. This intervention is coherent with the humanitarian, peace and development nexus (triple nexus) and contributes to durable solutions for IDPs and returnees. 


STAF - Skills for Tourism and Agriculture and Forestry

01.01.2023 - 31.12.2027

Switzerland, Luxembourg and the European Union are joining hands to reform the TVET sector together with the Government of Laos to increase the employability and income of the Lao people. Switzerland’s long-term experience in poverty reduction, vocational training and private sector engagement will support youth to access improved vocational skills development and reach employment through stronger employment service delivery.

Object 1 – 12 of 162