Promoting vocational education and training together with the private sector

Switzerland, Kenya, Bangladesh, Guatemala
Initial vocational education and training, Upskilling and Reskilling, Labour market insertion
At an event in Zurich on June 8, 2023, Swisscontact presented three vocational education projects that underscore the importance of involving the private sector in development cooperation. These projects also highlight how companies in Kenya, Bangladesh, and Guatemala are moving vocational education forward in order to create jobs and a better future for their people. The event was titled "Shifting Power - How the Private Sector Drives Change in State-led Education Systems".

Kenya Country Director Lillian Mwai gave a speech in which she articulated how Swisscontact in collaboration with the Hilti Foundation created new training opportunities offering essential professional skills to young people working in the construction sector. Swisscontact initiated collaboration between local businesses, training institutes, participating vocational schools, and the Ministry of Education to launch the vocational education course for electricians and plumbers in 2022. The new dual, apprenticeship-based training model in Kenya has immense potential to create sustainable impacts above and beyond the construction sector.

"We believe in close collaboration with the private sector and have told companies that in-company vocational training is a scalable and sustainable solution."
Lillian Mwai, Country Director, Swisscontact Kenya

With vocational training, all systems are go for a sustainable future

In another presentation, Bangladesh Country Director Mujibul Cezanne Hasan explained how a Swisscontact Bangladesh project is training garment sector management and workers in environmentally-friendly technologies. The goal is to equip businesses for environmental change and to make their supply chains more sustainable. This improves job security and living conditions for workers.

"Environmental change is fundamentally altering the textile industry in Bangladesh. Swisscontact is supporting companies along this path so that they can reach environmental, economic, and social sustainability goals.
Mujibul Cezanne Hasan, Country Director, Swisscontact Bangladesh

Developing market-friendly training curricula together with the private sector and science

Young people in Guatemala often have no access to education and thus to employment. The Swisscontact project, which was presented by Guatemala Country Director Carlos Morales Cajas, works together with businesses, research institutes, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare to create practical training courses for the IT and food sectors. Both fast-growing sectors are helping significantly to limit outward migration.

Swisscontact Guatemala Country Director Carlos Morales Cajas explained how practical trainings are preparing Guatemalan workers for the future.

Around 50 invitees from the fields of international development cooperation, science, foundations, and international companies discussed whether the situation is actually as implied in the event title: “Power shift – How the private sector is driving change in state-led education systems.”  Traditionally, education in developing countries has been the state’s responsibility. In the meantime, and thanks in part to such projects, the private sector has recognised that it needs to play an active role in order to bring about the change needed. In the end, vocational education is not only useful to workers, but to business and the companies themselves.

By focussing on unleashing the potential of private initiatives, Swisscontact provides opportunities for companies to collaborate on specific projects and initiatives. This is an asset to build their image and reputation and reach new markets.

Initial vocational education and training
Building skills for young plumbers and electricians through dual apprenticeship training (PropelA)
The PropelA project seeks to introduce a dual apprenticeship model driven by employers for the construction industry in Kenya and beyond, starting with plumbers and electricians.
Upskilling and Reskilling, Labour market insertion, Green cities
Promoting Green Growth in the Ready-Made Garments Sector Through Skills (PROGRESS)
Promoting Green Growth in the Ready-Made Garments Sector Through Skills (PROGRESS) project envisions contributing to the development of an inclusive, environmentally responsible, and competitive RMG sector in Bangladesh that can offer productive, well paid, secured, and decent job opportunities to workers, mostly women, and at the same time, adapt to the evolving needs of the global market in terms of technological advancement and ESG standards. 
Labour market insertion
Disadvantaged young adults will be able to successfully enter professional life through solid, high-quality training. In this way they will generate income for themselves and their families, freeing themselves from poverty on their own initiative.Young men and women are learning important technical skills in vocational training. Since the project...