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«Comparative Study and ‘Outcome and Impact’ Analysis of Six Vocational Training Projects in West Africa Synthesis report based on six case ...»

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• Some master trainers in Kumasi (OICG) turning their businesses into low cost- nonformal training centres training more than 20 people at a time

• VTF supported formal VTI has extended attachment periods and is thus approaching some form of cooperative training model which entails a substantial period of on-thejob training in the private sector Centre based formal technical vocational education and training (TVET) is integrated in the education and training system. It has a higher theory focus compared to the other models and graduates often lack sufficient exposure to real jobs. Teaching is often focused on passing theory biased examinations rather than performing work tasks. This is considered the core problem. In the case of VTF supported VTIs, the disadvantage of formal schooling is partly compensated by relatively long periods of attachments (three months) after each year (till now three attachments). A well organised attachment period of at least three months a year is an important success factor.

An advantage of formal TVET is that graduates obtain government recognised certification and thus have better changes of advancing their technical training and/ or gain entry into formal, educational programs combined with technical education, as with the multilateral schools (BWI) in Liberia and in Government Technical Institutes in Sierra Leone. In reality, however, only a small percentage of the graduates covered by the tracer study are continuing higher education.

Formal VT does not reach the poorest of the poor. The two most excluding factors are (a) costs and duration of training and (b) secondary education as an entry requirement.

Secondary school graduates enrolling in formal VTI have aspirations. Often they do not accept

Berufsbildung | Evaluierung

low paid jobs or poor working conditions in the informal sector unless they have no other choice and rather prefer further education.

The costs for graduating one person are the highest in the case of long term courses lasting more than two years. Tracer study results did not indicate a higher employment rate and a better quality of employment compared to the other training models.

Especially in rural areas formal centre based training lacks relevance. Rural labour markets are almost entirely informal and graduates are either forced to migrate or have to seek other income opportunities not related to their fields of training. Training providers situated in rural areas have little possibilities of cooperating with industries.

Centre based non-formal vocational skills development is usually more practice oriented than formal TVET as it does not (or less) contain academic/ theory content. The courses are usually shorter. Education is no entry requirement, the course is open for all. This is important especially in contexts where target groups have no or insufficient access to formal schooling (e.g. post war Sierra Leone and Liberia, neglected rural areas, depressed urban communities). In the case of SLOIC, the training approach is more formal. LOIC did offer courses of six (now nine) months which combined acquisition of trade and agricultural skills.

It appears that this approach was quite successful as it gave the graduate more than one opportunity for income generation, although the training period was possibly too short. Most significant limitations for greater effectiveness are the poor quality of skills training and little variety of trades offered. All centres have been offering basic courses but no advanced skills.

None of the training providers offered short term courses in specific skill areas as practiced elsewhere. None of the courses were offered in a modular approach (basic/ advanced/specialised) and none of the training providers (except the apprenticeship schemes) involved communities. Community based training using group models as practiced in parts of East Africa and in Asia is not known.

Improved apprenticeship schemes are practice oriented. Learning takes place informally on the job. The quality stands and falls with the appropriate selection of masters and the regularity of the follow-up. Critical factors are the actual exposure and involvement of the trainee in the work process, i.e. the readiness of the master to involve trainees in the production process, the availability and frequency of work and the qualification of the master.

If the apprenticeship model turns into low-cost non formal training (too many trainees trained in one place without sufficient integration of trainees in the work processes), there is a risk of poor quality training. With regard to cost-effectiveness, the improved apprenticeship schemes seem to have an advantage. They are more flexible in the selection of trades and can offer a wider variety, as they do not have to invest in training infrastructure. They can also cover wider geographic areas and reach out to marginalised communities. The impact in some cases has been remarkable. Skill upgrading of master trainers is an important measure to improve sustainability and outreach.

The improved apprenticeship schemes are not suitable for all trades. Centre based training has the advantage of offering a structured learning process. Combining the two models is particularly recommendable in technical fields such as automotive repair and services in modern technologies (e.g. electronics) where trainees need a good theoretical basis.

Cooperative models have the advantage of combining structured learning in a centre with a long period of workplace training. Pre-condition for implementing such a model is collaboration between training providers and the local private sector, which few of the partners are practising.

Berufsbildung | Evaluierung Adequacy of the three approaches for different contexts In Sierra Leone and Liberia, the majority of young people have dropped out of school because of the war and female illiteracy is generally high. In both countries non-formal VT programmes with no educational entry requirements are far more appropriate than formal VTI. With the improvement of the education system in both countries, this situation may change.

In Ghana and Nigeria, formal VTIs should concentrate on trades where they have an advantage in comparison to informal apprenticeship. Because of the high costs, formal technical training should remain a task of government institutions which have better access to state funding. It is not adequate to operate formal VTI in rural areas because of efficiency limitations and lacking relevance to rural markets unless there is a clearly identified lack of formal vocational training in a region.

In all the four countries, improved apprenticeship schemes are applicable. The most viable way of improving apprenticeships is to upgrade the skills of master trainers. VTF wants to embark on this strategy, the two apprenticeship schemes would have to extend partnerships with other actors as they can not provide this service by themselves. The other partners do not have the capacity to work in this field.


The most decisive factor for effectiveness is the market orientation and the quality of training, not the training model. The advantage of improved apprenticeship schemes is their flexibility and their outreach. It appears that apprenticeship schemes provide slightly better opportunities for men than for women, as men have better opportunities for integration in the informal labour market.

Demand depends more on attractiveness of a trade than on the training model. Long term courses seem to loose relevance because of their lower cost-effectiveness while non-formal training and apprenticeship which does not provide certification may not be valued by youth with formal schooling. The drop out rate depends on the costs of training and on the training quality. Grants (start up tools/ equipment) are an incentive to enrol and stay in a course despite the quality.

4.2 Further conclusions Reaching out to the poor Four out of the six EED sponsored partners target and reach out to poor unemployed youth.

This is achieved (1) by offering VT courses with low entry requirements where education is mostly no selection criterion (this applies especially to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria) and (2) by charging fees affordable to the target group.

Berufsbildung | Evaluierung

Demand for training in most case studies has been stagnating despite the growth of the youth population. An external factor may be the increase in the number of VT providers. Especially in Ghana, “way side training” has become a low cost alternative for skills acquisition. Small enterprises increasingly discover vocational skills training as a business opportunity. The poor face barriers for enrolling in a long term training course (e.g. the four year courses offered by VTI in Ghana) for which they have to pay a fee. Flexible, modular non-formal skills training and improved apprenticeship schemes are more appropriate for reaching out to the poorest of the poor.

In three of the six EED sponsored projects/ programmes, female trainees are in the majority, but the variety of training options for females are insufficient. There is no case known to the consultants where specific ethnic groups have been marginalised. Church affiliated institutions tend to enrol Christians, which can be a conflict sensitive issue in regions where the relationship between Christians and Moslems is not at peace (e.g. the middle belt of Nigeria).

Analysis of effectiveness per trade

No general conclusions can be made per trade area as the labour market situation varies from one place to the other. For details see case studies.

Traditional trades such as tailoring/ dress making, carpentry or hair dressing can be effectively learned on-the job. The demand for labour in these conventional trade areas depends on the state of development of the local markets and traditional customs. In Nigeria for instance tailoring can still be a viable trade while in Sierra Leone the market seems saturated.

As mentioned several times, the training options for females are far less as for males, which are affecting their employability. In technical trades (e.g. electronics, automotive repair), centre based training has advantages as it follows a more systematic learning process. But centre based training, if not linked to markets, has a comparative disadvantage over market based skill acquisition. Thus in the technical trades, cooperative training models, where part of the skill acquisition takes place in the market and on the job, are most promising. Cooperative training models may not be feasible in rural areas.

Labour market orientation

The primary criterion used by training providers for selecting a trade is the social demand, i.e.

the number of applications received for trade or a course. This practice has led to stereotype centre based training programmes over many years. Labour market considerations play a secondary role in trade selection.

Labour markets in all the four countries offer potential which are not yet addressed by the training providers. Value addition to agricultural products is one example, only one partner is offering palm oil processing quite successfully as a trade. The growing middle class in Ghanaian and Nigerian cities is probably providing new opportunities for skills development and employment promotion. But also rural markets change, as experienced in Nigeria, where bicycles are slowly replaced by cheap Chinese motorbikes.

The apprenticeship schemes showed more flexibility in trade selection and the project staff is closer to the market, but the diversity the market offers is not yet fully reflected by these programmes. Training too many people in one skill area in the same location and providing

Berufsbildung | Evaluierung

them with start up tools and equipment may even lead to negative effects such as market saturation and market distortion.

All partners lack methodologies for conducting market surveys in their localities and developing training offers accordingly. The public TVET systems do not provide guidance in this aspect.

Quality of training

Quality is an important factor for the effectiveness of vocational skills training, across the

training models studied. The quality is particularly influenced by:

• The trade and methodological competences of instructors and master trainers • Exposure of trainees/ students to practical work • The integration of soft skills and entrepreneurial skills in the curriculum The methodological knowledge of instructors and teachers, in some cases also the practical skills, were often not sufficient to provide good quality training. There is a lack of training of trainers (TOT) in all countries. In Ghana, VTF is addressing this gap. Because of the effects of the war, teachers training did not take place for many years and the TVET systems are not yet fully functional in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In Nigeria, both EED partners work in a remote part of the country in relative isolation to other actors. An additional challenge is that working in a VTI is not very attractive for young qualified personnel and older staff goes on retirement.

Staff development is remaining a crucial but cost intensive and thus unresolved issue.

Gender orientation of the VT programmes

Women face a number of disadvantages in the West African labour markets. They have less training and employment options and usually earn less. Progress has been made as the number of women in VT has increased. Three of the six partners enrol more women than men, both partners in Ghana have a clear focus on women (VTF, OICG). No progress has been made with respect to the integration of women in men dominated trades. The variety of training options for women is largely insufficient. Male instructors are still in the majority and in four of the six partners, females are not adequately represented in management. A precondition for successfully promoting female employment is a greater focus on personality building and empowerment. About 50% of the partners are teaching life skill subjects but usually not in a gender specific manner. More research is needed to address male specific topics in life skill courses.

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