The country’s current economic performance is in sharp contrast to the employment situation, particularly among young people: in Benin, there are not enough jobs to satisfy demand. The informal economy is the most important segment, 90% of which is constituted by companies with low development and few employees.
The barriers to improved business competitiveness include difficult access to resources (credit, markets, inputs, energy, and technology), as well as a lack of skilled and well-trained labour. Youth unemployment is estimated at 50%.
The national development strategy cites technical and vocational education as the main tool to improving employment opportunities.
The programme facilitates access to education and training opportunities in promising professions with high employment potential for young people. It involves improving the educational capacities of public and private vocational education centres in four Départements in the country’s north (Alibori, Borgou, Atacora, and Donga), as well as fostering effective governance in cooperation with private companies in order to have training courses better serve the needs of the market.
The approach consists in having the system of informal apprenticeships transition to a more formal system through implementation of the dual education and training model and the skills-based approach. Formal apprenticeship in a dual system involves many actors, institutions, relations, and structured processes. These processes have a goal in mind and result in certificates and degrees, allowing companies to evolve, increase profits, and generate additional employment.
To facilitate the transition from informal to formal learning, the dual vocational education and training model is applied. This results in skilled and employable young people, thereby helping companies to increase their earnings and subsequently create more jobs.
FORCE applies a systemic approach, allowing it to include the most important actors in a common learning system. This approach transforms fragmented vocational education systems and labour market institutions by enhancing actors’ sense of responsibility for innovation and reform. It involves collaboration with local employers, public and private training institutes, business associations, and ministries at the national and local levels.
The programme considers cross-cutting issues such as gender equity, social inclusion, and the “Leave no one behind” philosophy.
Swisscontact is applying a bottom-up, value-chain-based approach to vocational education at the local level. Local companies are participating in identifying educational skills and evaluating local trainees. FORCE supports the system by:
Development and provision of high-quality training courses tailored to the needs of the labour market and vulnerable youth.
An effective and inclusive, partnership-based governance of the education system working on the national and local level
Access is improved for disadvantaged young people to high-quality (dual) apprenticeship-based vocational education in promising crafts- and agriculture-based professions