Skills for Competitiveness (S4C)

Indonesia has charted impressive economic growth since overcoming the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. It has become the largest economy in the ASEAN community with a GDP per capita of USD 3’603 in 2016. Today, Indonesia is a key player on the global stage as the world’s 4th most populous nation, the world’s 10th largest economy and a member of the G-20. Poverty has been halved since 1999 to 10.9% in 2016 (World Bank, 2017).

While this is good news in principle the poverty rate decline has slowed down since 2012: 28 million Indonesians still live below the poverty line today, while 40% of the total population are considered vulnerable of falling back into poverty with incomes only marginally above the poverty line.

One of the major challenges the country faces today is the structure and dynamics of its labour market. On the one hand, the 1.7 million youth who enter the workforce each year outpace the growth in the number of jobs and result in a demand supply mismatch and people ending up in informal employment. On the other hand, technological progress: the complexity and nature of skills required on the labour market are not adequately matched with the qualifications and experiences obtainable through the national skills development system and result in a skills mismatch.

Project duration
2018 - 2022
Financed by
  • State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
  • Government of Indonesia

The project

The structure and dynamics of the Indonesian labour market poses one of the major challenges for the Indonesian economy and its future growth: the 1.7 million youth who enter the workforce each year outpace the growth in the number of jobs and the complexity of skills required are not adequately matched with the qualifications obtainable through the current Vocational Education and Training (VET) system. The Skills for Competitiveness (S4C) Programme aims to address this, is aligned to national strategies and based on clear demand from the Government of Indonesia.

The Programme has two objectives:

  • Five selected Polytechnics are efficiently managed and educate technicians/engineers in selected sectors as per the needs of the private sector. The Polys are focussing on the metal, furniture, wood and food processing sectors.
    Two outputs support this achievement focussing on the establishment of necessary management systems and processes and the development of training approaches oriented in the dual VET system. Interventions include among others the strengthening of school management capacities with focus on industrial relations, supporting the development of teaching ‘factories’ within the Polytechnics, development of a teaching approach on dual training and the upgrading and strengthening of teaching capacities.
  • The Government of Indonesia, selected sector associations and Association of Polytechnics and Industry Indonesia collaborate to develop and strengthen a tertiary dual Vocational Education and Training System in Indonesia.
    Activities aim at the establishment of a service portfolio for Poly-Industry services anchored with institutions like the Association of Polytechnics and Industry Indonesia (APII), sector associations or techno parks, supporting knowledge exchange and learning between VET system actors and contributing to overall VET system reforms.

The Programme is implemented by a Swiss Consortium consisting of the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation (Swisscontact), the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH-CDC) and the Association for Swiss International Technical Connection (SITECO) working in close collaboration with the Centre for Industrial Human Resource Development (BPSDMI) of the Ministry of Industry (MoI) and the Ministry of Education and Culture Republic of Indonesia (MoEC).


2018 - June 2022

  • Study programs at Poly Morowali (3), Poly Kendal (3), Community Academy Bantaeng (3) and Poly Jember (1) received “good” accreditations from the National Accreditation Board, and one study program at Poly Jember received “excellent” accreditation.
  • 144 partner companies contributed to curriculum development and internship programs.
  • Industry-oriented curriculum development method (DACUM) has been replicated to two non-partner schools.
  • 38 lecturers were trained and certified as competency assessors.
  • 77 Certified In-Company Trainers are available to support students’ internship program.
  • In-CT Training improves structured internships based on the Impact Study done jointly with GIZ, KADIN, MOI, IHK Trier, and SwissCham Indonesia.
  • 31 lecturers successfully completed E-Didactic and Peer Coaching training by BFH.   
  • 14 industrial lecturers of Poly Kendal have been proposed for certification of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). 
  • Bakery Teaching Factory of Poly Jember received B accreditations from the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency.


Upskilling and reskilling
Indonesia: In-Company Trainers to foster Vocational Education and Training (VET)
In-Company Trainers (AdA, training of trainers) are an important part of Vocational Education and Training (VET). In Indonesia, there is the In-CT Basic Training Course and the In-CT Master Training Course. 


 through S4C has already had 35 In-Company Trainers trained to foster dual VET.

Upskilling and reskilling
Improving digital skills for staff of Polytechnic schools
In the engineering industry, computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing are becoming increasingly important. One of the challenges in the Indonesian labour market is that the skills required on the market are not adequately matched with the qualifications acquired through the national education system due to the technological progress. The programme Skills for Competitiveness collaborates with partner schools to develop digital skills at Indonesian technical colleges in order to educate technicians/engineers as per the needs of the private sector. 
Initial vocational education and training, Upskilling and reskilling
Online tools and tele-coaching are improving digital skills at technical colleges
The Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing rules make remote learning the only viable option in many countries to ensure the teaching and learning process can continue. The Swiss-Indonesian bilateral “Skills for Competitiveness” (S4C) project collaborates with partner schools and the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) to develop online teaching and learning skills at Indonesian technical colleges in order to achieve a higher digital learning standard.