Innovative and competitive companies depend on highly trained specialists. Not only do these create a foundation for companies to remain successful in competitive markets; they also help companies to grow, create more skilled jobs, boost value creation and pay higher wages.
Globalisation, an increasing pace of innovation and digitalisation bring along major challenges for many developing countries. One of these is the availability of competent, well-trained specialists. A shortage of skilled workers prevents companies from flourishing and creating enough decent jobs. Ultimately, this also impairs the economic growth of a country.
Focus on higher vocational training
SECO promotes the incorporation of market-oriented expertise in higher vocational training (post-secondary and tertiary levels). In doing so, it complements the work of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), which focuses on primary education as well as vocational training up to secondary level II. The private sector is at the heart of SECO’s activities. Its dynamic and innovative industries and fast-growing companies create jobs – as long as they can find the necessary workforce with the appropriate skills. Switzerland’s internationally renowned dual vocational education and training system is of great benefit. SECO involves Swiss vocational schools and companies that play an active role in the current dual education system in its projects.
The SECO-funded initiative Youth-Employment Service (YES) offers digital learning modules and twelve-month work placements at companies to unemployed 18 to 34-year olds from South Africa. Digital applications help to better identify the strengths and potential of the participants and to better link these up with the needs of various companies. The rate of unemployment among this age group is above 50 percent in South Africa. The chances of finding a permanent job increase three-fold after gaining initial work experience.
SECO fosters dialogue between authorities and the private sector in higher education in order to tailor the skills of staff to the companies’ needs and reduce the skills gap.
Tailored to the needs of the labour market
In order to cater training programmes to the needs of the labour market, SECO fosters dialogue between the private sector, the authorities and vocational schools. This involves promoting the “dualisation” of vocational training using approaches such as on-the-job training. It also makes vocational training sustainable because it caters to the needs of the labour market even in the years that follow the initial support by SECO.
SECO supports vocational schools and higher education institutions in Indonesia with a view to creating more sustainable tourism offerings. This takes place in close collaboration with the local governments and the Indonesian private sector, with Swiss expertise playing a significant role. The project improves the quality of training courses in the tourism sector and tailors the specialist skills taught to the needs of local tourism companies.
Digitalisation, social and environmental aspects and gender equality
SECO supports the implementation of international labour and social standards, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of companies. Digital transformation, environmentally friendly production processes and gender equality also play an important role. Fast-changing and environmentally friendly technologies form part of the training, which strives for equal representation of gender.
As part of this project, SECO assists in the training and further education of skilled personnel in water and waste water services in Peru. The training programme helps to equip water supply services with the means to meet the challenges of climate change and protect the environment by employing adequate waste water management.