Bangladesh has a high rate of unemployment and underemployment in Asia. Rural areas in Bangladesh have the highest number of unemployed youths. The demand for agro-based and conventional jobs decreased and industry and trade-based jobs increased. Uttoron’s adaptive approach for promoting community-based trainings on formal employment and self-employment opportunities highly encourages youth, especially women and minority (ethnic or religious) community members, to participate in training. Skills development is a crucial issue for a developing country like Bangladesh, which aims to become a middle-income country by 2021.
Uttoron – skills for better life is a skills development project, funded by Chevron under Bangladesh Partnership Initiative (BPI) and implemented by Swisscontact.
The project aims to support the youths by providing training on trades that matches the current industry demand and facilitate job placement suitable for the targeted beneficiaries. Prior to providing skills training, Uttoron project creates awareness amongst the community members about the benefits and opportunities of skills training, selects the right aspired candidate through an intense screening process based on many selection criteria, and organizes a two-day long motivational workshop to build self-confidence and enhance motivation of the participants, and at the same time assess their level of aspiration. Based on the assessment results right aspired candidates are selected for skills training on their preferred trade. This process of informing the youths and selecting right candidates is also known as Boot-camp, which is one of the unique interventions of Uttoron project. After completing training course in the designated trade, Uttoron facilitates certification and job placements of trained individuals for gainful employment. Along with preparing the trainees for employment, Uttoron project also develops the capacity of Training Service Providers (TSPs) to deliver quality skills training. Uttoron’s inclusive approach encourages women and minority (ethnic and religious) community members to participate. Moreover, Uttoron project works closely with the government agencies and involves the local government authorities and the community people to align the project objectives with the vision of government and the need of the community people.
In phase-I (2016-2019), Uttoron project supported 1,400 community youths from three north-eastern district of Bangladesh Sylhet, Habiganj and Moulavi Bazar by providing training on industry demanded skills and positioning them for a new or improved employment opportunities. To continue this momentum of development, Chevron has extended the project for further three years (phase-II, 2019-2022).
In phase-II, Uttoron project aims to increase the employability of 2,000 community youths of Sylhet and Dhaka region. In addition to that, Uttoron aims to facilitate establishment of a permanent training center in Habiganj, and assist upgradation of a government run national level welding institute to offer training in advance welding skills. When gender or ethnic discrimination are often prevalent, Uttoron encourages the participation of women and people from minority community into skills training.