Strengthening vocational education in the South

A new support scheme financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs aims to strengthen vocational education and training in developing countries. The goal is to help young people to acquire qualifications that will make them attractive on the labour market or enable them to create their own jobs.

Author: Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl.

Published: 13.10.2016

Electricians in Tanzania

At Dogodogo multitraining center in Banju in Tanzania, poor youth are given a two-year vocational education that prepares them for the labour market.  After completing their training, the students are given equipment that will enable them to start their own businesses. The centre is supported by Norwegian Church Aid. (Photo: Marit Hverven / Norad / CC BY)

With a budget of up to NOK 500 million over five years, this scheme will be a significant investment involving both educational institutions and Norwegian businesses with interests in developing countries. The scheme was launched in September with an introductory call for applications for project funds and a call for project outlines.

The calls will be administered by SIU in close cooperation with Norad.

Counteracting youth unemployment

«The most important path out of poverty goes through education and job creation. We must work purposefully to ensure that the large youth cohorts can be of benefit to their countries,» said State Secretary Tone Skogen of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the launch of the scheme.

«There are 1.8 billion young people who are either unemployed or in education. To keep pace with the growing labour force, 600 million new jobs are needed in the next ten years, according to the World Bank. Developing countries need an increasing number of more viable enterprises,» she pointed out.

International partnership

The new grant scheme, Building Skills for Jobs, targets Norwegian companies, educational institutions and organisations that cooperate with other actors – locally in the recipient countries, internationally and in Norway. Projects at a level corresponding to upper secondary school or lower can receive support, provided that they involve strengthening technical vocational training and education.

Projects aimed at one of the 12 focus countries for Norwegian development aid will be first in the queue when project funds are to be allocated, but projects in other partner countries can also receive support. The programme prioritises projects in the energy, ICT, agriculture, fish and marine resources sectors, as well as the maritime sector.

The focus countries are divided into two categories. The first category comprises vulnerable states where stabilisation and peace-building are key, together with social and economic development:  Afghanistan, Haiti, Mali, Palestine, Somalia and South Sudan. The other group comprises countries in development where there is an increasing emphasis on business and industry, and resource and revenue management: Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal and Tanzania.

Deadline for applications 1 November

«The first call for applications is aimed at those who have already established a collaboration with partners in relevant recipient countries and who can start up projects already in spring 2017. In addition, we have asked those who have not come quite as far in their planning to submit project outlines for possible future projects,» says head of department Ragnhild Tungesvik of SIU.

«We will use the experience gained from this first call for applications when formulating the main call for applications in detail. The main call will be issued in 2017,» she continues.

Applications for project support must be submitted by 1 November 2016, while the deadline for submitting project outlines for future projects is 30 November 2016.

>> Read more about the scheme and how to apply

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