The first phase of B-SkillFUL facilitated training for over 40,000 men and women in demand driven skills and placed at least 70% of them in gainful employment. Among them 96% are earning BDT 5,000 or above per month. This ensured access to the labour market for the unemployed labourers and provided higher employment opportunities for the underemployed ones.
The programme also worked towards improving workplace conditions by increasing awareness of enterprise owners about the inherent benefits of a decent work environment. Special attention was paid to women (who are 55% of the total target population), ethnic and religious minority groups and people with disabilities. The programme facilitated the implementation of training programs through local training service providers (TSPs) in Dinajpur, Joypurhat, Bogura, Tangail, Gazipur and Jashore.
The intervention areas of B-SkillFUL Phase I were the following:
As of September 2020, B-SkillFUL commenced Phase II operations focusing on skills and enterprise development, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and implemented by Swisscontact. The programme contributes to Switzerland’s overall goal in Bangladesh, which is to bring about a more equitable society that enjoys inclusive and sustainable growth, aligned with the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations.
B-SkillFUL Phase II aims to improve productivity and competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and create better jobs by providing Business Development Services (BDS) to at least 800 SMEs and Workplace Based Training (WBT) to at least 13,000 new and existing workers. The programme operates across six districts in Bangladesh and in three growth sectors: furniture making, light engineering and leather goods. It also promotes improved working conditions, gender equity, social inclusion, and more environmentally sustainable practices among participating SMEs.
Recognising the importance of domestic economic recovery in the backdrop of COVID-19 pandemic, B-SkillFUL Phase II offers customised solutions for SMEs to improve technical and management capabilities, modernise production methods, diversify products and services, expand into new markets, and ensure safe and decent working conditions for workers. The solutions are designed to address specific constraints identified at the sector and SME levels.
The programme also creates opportunities for coaching, mentoring, and providing advisory services to SMEs through Business Development Service (BDS) providers. These services include business planning, human resource development, product design, production improvements, inventory control, marketing, and finance. BDS providers can gain access and opportunities to engage with SMEs in peri-urban and rural areas and expand their clientele beyond the major cities.
The two major intervention areas include:
By 2024, B-SkillFUL Phase II will ensure:
Phase I (2015-2020)