© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger

Well Equipped for the Working World

© Helvetas / Flurina Rothenberger

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.

  • Project Name
    Skills for Employment
  • Project Phase
    2018 to 2021
  • Funding
    Donations, contributions, SDC programme contribution
  • Thematic focus
    Education and Vocational Skills

In-demand trades

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.

© Helvetas
«When I was 10 years old, I had to leave school and worked as a housekeeper. Because of my passion for sewing, I applied for a training, was selected and started a sewing course. Thanks to the training, I am now an independent woman. I love my job and I am much happier than before.»

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.

© Helvetas
«After school I moved to the Chinese border because there were no job opportunities in my village. Fortunately, I heard about Helvetas, moved back and could learn new skills as a motorcycle mechanic. Today I have a regular monthly income that is twice as high as at the Chinese border.»

Mg Zin Min Ko (26), Bhee Ba village, Magwe Region

Learn more about our work

How Helvetas Supports People in Myanmar

Learn how the rural communities in Myanmar improve their income and strengthen civil society in its new role.

Education and Vocational Skills

Lack of education perpetuates inequality because poor countries cannot compete economically without a skilled workforce.

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.