Promoting vocational training and youth employment in Togo
Title: Promoting vocational training and youth employment
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Ministère de la Planification, du Développement et de l’Aménagement du Territoire (Ministry of Planning, Development, and Land Management – MPDAT)
Overall term: 2012 to 2018
Togo has few natural resources, and economic development in the country is slow. Around two thirds of the population make their living from agriculture. There is little industry or paid employment. Young people in particular, who make up the majority of the population, are finding it difficult on the labour market.
Togo’s Government aims to restructure the country’s outdated vocational training system and turn it into a modern dual training system – the only way to ensure that graduates of the training courses meet the requirements of the private sector and find employment.
Youth employment approaches already exist, but they are not sufficiently coordinated with one another. In view of the great economic, social and political relevance of the topic, the Government of Togo has given it high priority, although this is not yet reflected in the allocation of funding.
Young men and women are prepared for employment and self-employment in selected sectors.
After key steps were taken in the vocational education and youth employment sector in earlier phases of the project, activities now focus on embedding these reforms within the sector’s structures and institutions and on disseminating the successful approaches.
Training and continuing education are being adapted and improved on an ongoing basis. In this context, the project is promoting dialogue between the political level, the implementation level and the private sector. New occupations are being identified that are explicitly suitable for young women and for people with disabilities. These groups are particularly frequently marginalised and affected by extreme poverty.
The project is advising the Government of Togo on quality assurance and on coordinating measures aimed at youth employment and vocational training, and it is helping to set up a comprehensive monitoring system. In addition, a regional platform is encouraging the exchange of curricula, teaching materials and best practices on financing vocational training systems.
In order to improve vocational training, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is advising the partners in Togo on introducing and implementing a dual training system. The legal basis for vocational training has been created, a participatory method to modernise curricula and training materials has been introduced, and training courses have already been modernised for five different trades. Financing for the first dual training year-groups has been secured through the national fund for training and continuing education.
In addition, the project has assisted Togo in setting up a regional platform on vocational training. Nine West African countries already belong to the platform, which is attached to the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) at institutional level. Current goals include cutting costs and saving time by sharing curricula and teaching materials. In addition, financing concepts and approaches for improving functional literacy are being discussed and refined.
Training is currently being offered in three Togolese cities in a total of five occupations over three years under the dual training system. Implementation is being supported by local steering groups in which all the stakeholders have a say. In mid-2018, the first year of trainees under the dual training system will complete their three-year training course and will receive support in making the transition to the labour market.
In order to promote youth employment, the Support Fund for Youth Economic Initiatives (FAIEJ) has developed a module-based entrepreneurship training approach with support from the project. The approach supports young skilled labourers in setting up their own businesses or in managing their existing business more efficiently and hence generating more income. It enables the needs of young women and men with little or no schooling and people with physical disabilities to be addressed in a targeted way. The business plans developed during the training can be used directly to apply for microcredits from the fund. Other donors such as the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have integrated the approach into their programmes.
Around 120 people have been trained as trainers for this approach. They constitute a resource for business start-ups and business management that extends beyond the project, enabling them to work as advisors and coaches throughout the country.
The project supported Togo’s National Employment Agency in collecting employment data and developing career guidance services. People with disabilities support the career guidance staff in creating employment prospects for people with disabilities.
The Togolese chambers of trades and crafts have been strengthened across the country. Elections have taken place at national level, for example. The chambers have also extended the services they offer their members in order to create incentives to join. They are increasingly playing a role as representatives of the private sector in the national and local dialogue on employment and are promoting the interests of skilled labourers, who currently enjoy little visibility or recognition.
The partner structures in the two areas of activity – vocational training and youth employment – are assisted in cooperating with one another in order to boost the impact of the individual elements and create a national dialogue on employment. Including the private sector guarantees that training and continuing education is in line with demand from the labour market. The National Employment Agency is used as a multiplier for the dual training system. Chambers of trades and crafts act as a link between the private and public sector. Entrepreneurship training is also integrated into the curricula of the dual training system to allow trainees to prepare themselves for the option of self-employment even before they have completed their training; this is an important aspect in a country in which little paid employment is available outside the capital.