Promoting skilled crafts with innovative approaches

Project description

Title: Strengthening innovative approaches between the German crafts sector and partners in the international TVET-cooperation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Global project focusing on Germany and sub-Saharan Africa (Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa)
Overall term: 2017 to 2020

Craftspeople go Africa Dennis Onen


In numerous countries in Africa, the economy is growing fast – and the labour market is changing equally rapidly. Cooperation between the private sector and vocational education and training bodies is crucial here, as economic potential can only be exploited with properly trained skilled workers. 

There is a current shortage of skilled workers in many places, as local companies are not contributing their know-how to training courses. Especially in the manual trades, young people lack the necessary practical skills.


Employment prospects in Africa are improving thanks to practice-based vocational education and training and international networking. 

Craftspeople go Africa Dennis Onen 2


The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH together with the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH). 

In collaboration with German skilled craft workers and businesses, the project supports labour potential and vocational training in the partner countries. To this end, a network of international cooperation in vocational training is being developed, aimed at linking German and African skilled craft businesses and vocational education and training bodies.

Activities are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, mainly in the countries of Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda. The project qualifies German craft workers for their engagement in development cooperation and prepares them for an assignment in the target countries. It brings the participants together both online and in person and initiates business and learning partnerships between German and African businesses.


The project has attracted the interest of the skilled trades sector in development cooperation and to date has deployed around 100 craft workers in various measures. 

Created in 2017, the network comprises more than 350 experts from a variety of trades working as short-term experts in Africa. The trades include woodworking and metalworking, automotive and electrical engineering, renewable energy, as well as plumbing, heating and air conditioning. 

The experts were mobilised in six matching trips and regular short training courses. Thanks to the project, 22 out of 53 German chambers of skilled crafts have become involved in vocational education and training cooperation to date either for the first time or more extensively. 

A special cooperation project has been set up with the Frankfurt-Rhine-Main and Swabia Chambers of Skilled Crafts, which run International Master Craftsperson and International Cooperation Specialists training courses.

German craft workers have carried out more than 80 assignments in African businesses and vocational training institutions. In the target countries, an average of 15 skilled workers were trained during each short-term assignment.

Qualitative surveys in the target countries showed that virtually all those who took part saw an improvement in the skills of their trade. 92 per cent believed that their management skills had been improved by German craft workers and 82 per cent stated they were now able to operate more successfully. 
Seven business partnerships were established between German and African players and further partnerships are in the process of being set up. In addition, eight projects have been created thanks to the active involvement of craft workers, for example in lightning protection and surface treatment. 

Additional information