Helvetas promotes vocational education for teenagers and young adults in short pragmatic training courses. The training institutions are increasingly paid for results: their fees are not paid in full unless and until the trainees have found their feet in the working world.
Myanmar’s economic and democratic opening up since 2011 has opened many doors for a country rich in natural resources. And yet the revival of this “sleeping tiger” will only be possible if its private sector can recruit the necessary manpower and if its young people develop the drive to start up their own small businesses. But to do so, they need to be trained.
This is why the government is investing not only in measures to promote industry and commerce, but also, as a top priority, in vocational training. In the Dry Zone in central Myanmar, Helvetas supports this initiative through vocational training courses in sectors where there is demand on the labor market: the automotive, textile, construction and beauty industries.
Ma Thanda Pearl Shwe (21), Magwe Town
Civil-society organizations are mobilizing young people to enroll in vocational courses. Helvetas also works with private companies that let their young staff attend extra-occupational courses that are not only about manual skills, but about entrepreneurial thinking and reacting alertly to changes in the economy and society.
When paying private educational establishments, Helvetas introduces an approach tried and tested in projects in Nepal and Ethiopia: their fees are not paid in full unless and until the young trainees, after their final exams, earn a decent income in a steady job or by starting up their own business. So the training companies have a direct pecuniary interest in making their trainees fit for the working world. 2,000 young people attend these courses, 75% of whom will soon be self-supporting. We concentrate particularly on encouraging the participation of disadvantaged social groups, including girls and young people who have dropped out of school.
Mg Wanna Htay, 24, for example felt encouraged to participate a training: “Since my childhood I have been living with a polio-related disability and had to leave school early. Fortunately, I could start a training on fixing hardware of mobile phones. I am so grateful to Helvetas because they give disadvantaged youth like me a chance to live a life in dignity.”
We draw up reports on our experiences in vocational training and make the resulting educational know-how available to the country’s decision makers, other projects and organizations.
Mg Zin Min Ko (26), Bhee Ba village, Magwe Region