Every year, 850,000 young women and men in Tanzania enter the labour market. This supply of labour stands in stark contrast to the 40,000 formal jobs available. The YES project gives young women and men the opportunity to undertake short, practical training courses that are geared towards the local market, and supports them as they begin working life.
Barely out of school – with or without qualifications – many young people in the underdeveloped interior of Tanzania have little choice but to cultivate a small plot of land, either their own or someone elseʼs. Around 70 per cent of the working population of Tanzania live, for better or worse, from agriculture. Secondary school qualifications are required in order to learn a trade, but many families cannot afford this or the schools are too far away. Moreover, for many people the existing training opportunities are prohibitively expensive and not geared to the local labour market.
In view of the growing population, the number of young, unqualified jobseekers is expected to rise sharply over the coming years. Helvetas in Tanzania has therefore launched a series of practical short training courses for 11 trades so far that do not require the young women and men to have school qualifications. The aim of the courses is to provide them with the skills and competences they need to gain a foothold in the employment market. In the practical part of the training, they learn practical skills such as installing electrical circuits, breeding bees or erecting walls. In the theoretical part of the training, they learn how to, for example, design circuits, prevent dampness in walls using damp-proof courses, or the basics of modern honey production.
In addition to professional skills, the young women and men also have the opportunity in the courses to improve their social and personal skills. Following their schooling, which is based mainly on rote learning, they now have to learn to develop ideas, communicate clearly and think independently. Reliability, initiative and self-confidence are also key elements of the courses, as making a positive impression is crucial to finding a job. Those wishing to start their own business must be able to market and sell their own product. The young trainees therefore also learn entrepreneurial skills such as business planning, marketing and finance management. In this way, the short courses inspire entrepreneurship – as well as a sense of optimism for a brighter future.
Elizabeth Jackison, 28, builder-in-training, Tanzania
Since long distances or caring duties often present an obstacle to training, Helvetas wants to develop mobile learning units that can be completed through self-study by mobile phone – at any time and at the learnerʼs own pace. This also benefits those with a small school rucksack.
The aim of these short courses is not simply to provide training, but to give trainees the skills they need to find a well-paid job or to start a successful business. That is why training is combined with entry into the labour market. This is a model that was developed by Helvetas in Nepal 10 years ago and then successfully transposed to an African context in Ethiopia: vocational training institutes – both state and private – receive the last instalment for the costs of training only once their graduates are making enough money to secure their livelihoods or are successfully self-employed. This motivates the trainers to teach young people the skills that are actually in demand on the labour market, and to assist them in finding work or establishing their own business.
Mariam Albert, 21, electrician-in-training, Tanzania
As with all educational projects, Helvetas has involved the relevant government agencies, the private sector and civil society from the start. The idea is that good experiences at a regional level will be transposed to a national level so that many more young women and men than those involved in the YES project can benefit from practical short courses in Dodoma and Singida. The chances of this are good, as YES is contributing to the Tanzanian governmentʼs Vision 2025, the aim of which is to develop Tanzania into a middle-income country. The short training courses help to combat poverty and give young people and coming generations new prospects for the future.
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