Skills for Unemployed and Underemployed Labour in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a labour force of around 56 mil­lion with a growth of about 2 million young entrants every year. Majority of the work­ers earn their liv­ing in the in­for­mal sector, suffering from low productivity due to lack of education, and minimal skills training. Long working hours and low wages lead to decrease in standard of living of the growing workforce. Although the poverty headcount index has declined over the years, high rates of unemployment and underemployment continue to contribute to the impoverished lives of the poor.
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Project duration
2011 - 2015
Financed by
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
  • European Union EU

The Project

SkillFUL is implemented by Swisscontact in collaboration with Centre for Mass Education in Science (CMES). The Project is jointly funded by European Union (EU) and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). SkillFUL provides support mainly to private and a few NGO-based Training Service Providers (TSPs), which offer demand driven, flexible and affordable training, and job placement to the target groups of underprivileged men, women and differently abled people.

Besides strengthening capacity of training service providers, SkillFUL has undertaken other interventions such as developing competency based training materials (e.g. curriculum guides and training manuals), initiating and supporting establishment of Industry Skills Council as the apex body for the Furniture Sector and piloting private sector-led Skills Testing and Certification in the Furniture Sector for SkillFUL graduates and industry workers. Interventions also included initiating establishment of Skills Development Forums in Kurigram and Jessore for local organisations to address skills development issues, supporting "Skills and Loan Fairs" to enable target groups to explore access to finance and jobs, and supporting the development of Occupational Skills Standards for the Furniture and Informal Sector (for low level skills), jointly with the Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB).

SkillFUL strives to achieve a paradigm shift and has initiated linkages of Financial Institutions (FIs) with (i) TSPs seeking funds to upgrade and expand their business; (ii) potential trainees in need of support; and (iii) graduates seeking loans to start their own business. 

Project partner

  • Centre for Mass Education in Science (CMES)


Results 2014

  • 5,465 graduates have been employed after training
  • Average monthly income of USD 41 earned by employed graduates; previously employed graduates’ average income increased by 50%
  • 500 graduates assessed and certified through private-sector led Assessment and Certification
  • 4 Competency Standards developed and approved by BTEB
  • 6 TSPs, 101 trainees and 26 graduates received loans from FIs