Bangladesh: starting a career with confidence and qualifications through a “boot camp”

Why is it so difficult for young people in Bangladesh to make the transition from school to professional life? Often, they lack the appropriate professional qualifications. The “Uttoron” project developed a unique, three-stage trainee selection process, the so-called “boot camp”. Giaul Islam, Shiuli Akhter, and Al-Imran recount the positive ways in which the boot camp helped them to start their professional lives.

The current unemployment rate in Bangladesh is at 10.9% (5.2 million people), while a high underemployment rate sits at 18.7% (15 million people). Between graduation and starting a career, young adults often lack the required professional qualifications, both in terms of skills development and practical abilities.

The “Boot camp” – a unique three-stage selection process

The “Uttoron” project offers support to young people seeking employment. In a first step, they are selected in an interview based on key criteria such as age and academic or technical training. 

This is followed by a two-day motivational seminar- in which the selected youth are encouraged and motivated to build their self-confidence in preparation for entering the professional world. This is the unique aspect of the Uttoron boot camp: young people are prepped for their careers through the identification and improvement of so-called “soft skills”.

If they can meet the required standards, select participants undergo many months of qualification training for market-oriented careers. Next, the project links up the job seekers with potential employers. 

Video on “Uttoron’s” unique trainee selection process

«Boot Camp» stations

awareness campaigns | initial interview | motivational seminar | qualification training

“I gained self-confidence at the workshop”

“I gained self-confidence at the workshop”, says Shiuli Akhter, a 22-year-old from Sadar, Sylhet. Shiuli Akhter, Giaul Islam, and Al-Imran, three Uttoron boot camp participants, share their experiences and talk about their new opportunities.

Read the “Uttoron” Stories

“Uttoron - skills for a better life” is a three-year qualification project with the goal of creating job opportunities in Bangladesh. It is financed by Chevron in the Bangladesh Partnership Initiative (BPI) and implemented by Swisscontact. 

73% of boot camp graduates, of whom 12% are women, found employment (see the graph).