Network of Practice Enterprises in Tunisia (ReeT): The key to qualitative and quantitative development of practice enterprises 

Initial vocational education and training
Since 2013, Swisscontact has been implementing a programme in Tunisia aimed at improving the employability of young people and increasing the attractiveness of vocational training. In partnership with Helvartis (a Swiss network for vocational training), the programme has developed practice enterprises (a model inspired by the Swiss trade companies) to meet the needs of graduates and students, apprentices and Tunisian employers.

The programme, conducted under the auspices of the Tunisian Ministry of Vocational Training with funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, trains about 6,000 people within its 5 programmes; those training schemes are adapted to the context of post-revolution Tunisia, with job insertion rates systematically above 75%.

Faten Banaouas, Director of ReeT

Faten Banaouas, Director of ReeT (Network of Practice Enterprises in Tunisia), explains the context, talks about the benefits for companies, and also analyses the challenges of a very effective vocational integration system.

What has ReeT achieved in Tunisia in the last few years?

ReeT has set up a new possibility for the professional insertion of young graduates in Tunisia. It has adapted the concept of "practice enterprises" to the Tunisian context to offer highly effective "on-the-job" practical training of three months, in an environment corresponding to the real requirements of Tunisian employers.

Today, ReeT has seven practice enterprises in three governorates. These coaching centers have already enabled the professional integration of more than 1,000 graduates recruited by 580 companies including major Tunisian labels. Given the good results (82% insertion rate), we are in the process of creating other practice enterprises for the coming months.

In addition to this, ReeT is currently training more than 860 students in higher training institutes to improve their employability and prepare them for their entry into the working world.

Who has actually benefited from this programme?

The beneficiaries are young graduates seeking employment, but also students who look for help to prepare to enter the work market.

How do the companies benefit?

The practice enterprises are also a true "service to companies" and an innovative response to the needs of employers who are confronted with a very high turnover of young professionals in Tunisia. By offering certified "ready-to-work" young people,  they can reduce the risks associated with recruitment considerably, while facilitating and reducing the duration of the integration of young people in the company.

Couldn't commercial or service businesses in Tunisia offer apprenticeship or internship contracts with young people and train them themselves? Why do we have to go through practice enterprises?

Practice enterprises are an alternative to internships and apprenticeships. A well-structured company with a real HR policy can perfectly train its young people internally. Unfortunately, not all companies are able to do so, especially SMEs. Moreover, the training is not the same as that acquired in an apprenticeship or an internship model. The supervision is more developed and the context is more favourable to "learning by doing". As many unemployed young people are weakened and lack confidence, they will be better accompanied in a practice company, in a secure and caring environment, and by professionals exclusively dedicated and trained for that.

What interest and advantage can companies derive from that?

The company can delegate the training of its new recruits to the practice enterprises and thus reduce the cost of in-house training. It can also recruit young people who are trained in the use of standard processes and tools specifically used by companies in the country. The focus on behavioural soft skills also corresponds to the unanimous demand of Tunisian employers.

Why are accreditations important for young people / for companies?

Certification guarantees the consistent quality of training and the credibility of practice enterprises. The "Swiss label" is also highly valued by young people, employers and the labour market in general.

What are the biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge remains the institutional anchoring and the perpetuation of the practice enterprises' model. The setting up of a collaboration between the National Agency for Employment and Independent Work (ANETI) and ReeT could extend the device. In addition, this could serve as a means to effectively and concretely invest in employment, to reduce exclusion and the unemployment rate. Consequently, it could increase the employability of a significant number of graduates and job seekers in various regions of Tunisia.