Vocational Skills Development

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Introduction to the topic

Progress in poverty reduction is crucial for achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. It is widely known that one of the ways to achieve this is by providing relevant vocational skills leading to gainful employment or self-employment. For more than 30 years, the promotion of vocational skills development has been one of SDC’s priorities in developing countries and emerging economies. In the field of vocational skills development SDC pursues a broad-based, flexible approach to promote the development of vocational skills and competences which can be acquired through different pathways: through school-based and workplace-based education and training, within and outside the formal education system. VSD encompasses all levels of training, from very low-level informal settings up to high-level and demanding offers in formal education.

SDCs approach

SDC’s activities in the field of vocational skills development are aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the population, with emphasis on young people and women as well as rural populations. By coordinating and integrating its activities with other education-related activities in a country, SDC endeavours to build up an efficient, flexible educational system that addresses local requirements and understands and supports the need for lifelong learning. The specific aims of SDC include:

  • Promotion of access to vocational training opportunities, particularly for poor and disadvantaged segments of the population. This requires a significant increase in the range of available training offers of vocational skills development, which is only possible with the involvement of private training providers. SDC supports the development and adaptation of national standards governing the activities and quality of public and private training providers. SDC supports different ways of making training options more widely available and affordable, e.g. by reducing entrance barriers, supporting innovative teaching and learning methods, expanding and adapting such options for rural regions, and including business expertise in the curriculum in order to promote self-employment.
  • Promotion of the relevance and quality of vocational skills development opportunities by bringing them more in line with market demands. This can be done by gearing them to local and regional economic conditions and by encouraging the involvement of private companies in developing occupational profiles.
  • Promotion of lifelong learning by developing flexible further training options that enable people to adapt to the changing requirements of the labour market and by developing sustainable funding schemes based on local training governance. This approach includes support to national and local initiatives promoting the reintegration of unemployed persons into labour market.

    Please consult also:

    SDC Employment and Income: Medium-Term Orientation 2009-2012
    November 2008
    Author: SDC
    Download (PDF, 529 KB):[en]

  • New publication by the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training

    How does the accreditation of training providers improve the quality of vocational education and training (VET)? The study examines how accreditation systems relate to quality assurance by means of 12 in-depth case studies.

    Comparability in VET

    Concise presentation on comparability in VET by Matthias Jäger in German.