© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen

Youth Employment through Skills Enhancement (YES)

© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen

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.

  • Project Name
    Youth Employment through Skills Enhancement (YES) project
  • Project Phase
    2021 to 2025
  • Funding
    Donations, contributions, SDC programme contribution
  • Thematic focus
    Education and Vocational Skills

Achieving success with professional and social skills

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.

«I like this male world. I want to show that women can do whatever men can. Even though Iʼm not the first female builder here, I am perhaps only the second or third. I want to make history and become a manager. To achieve that goal, I have to keep learning more, acquire more knowledge and gain more experience. Fortunately, that is what Iʼm learning here in this course.»

Elizabeth Jackison, 28, builder-in-training, Tanzania

© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
Elifuraha Yacobo, 21, grows sunflowers in order to earn some money. But the effort required far exceeds the return, as the seeds must be shelled by hand. Elifuraha is therefore undertaking a training course in beekeeping, as honey provides a better income. © Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
The beekeeping training is short but intensive – and all of the trainees learn everything there is to know: from harvesting honey and sewing protective suits, to nesting aids, boxes, carpentry for beekeeping and processing honey. © Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
The samosas made by Sophia Maulidi, 16, are said to be the best in the village. Since completing the short baking course, a great many more customers have been visiting her motherʼs restaurant, which Sophia now runs herself thanks to the new skills she has acquired. © Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
Elizabeth Jackison, 28: “My mother always used to say that thereʼs no such thing as a female builder. One time I responded: ‘If you have never seen a female builder, then I will be the first one you see.’ Now my mother sees what I can do and what I can achieve, and that I will be able to earn money – the only ... © Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
Deus Luhengo, 20: “The course helped me to believe in myself. I used to feel very pessimistic about the future, I couldnʼt see a light at the end of the tunnel, I didnʼt know what to do. Once I finish my training, I will know different building techniques and will have experience. Then Iʼll be able to work as a ... © Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
Mariam Albert, 21, sells water on market days in order to contribute to her parentʼs family income. Now she is training to become an electrician. © Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
© Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen
Teresia Sijia, 18, is aiming to become the best electrician in Tanzania. “Iʼm working hard on that. When Iʼm finished here, Iʼll know everything I need to know.” Her trainer says: “The YES trainees are more motivated than other trainees. They seem to know that this is their ʻgolden opportunityʼ. They ... © Helvetas / Simon B.Opladen

Reaching even more young people through innovation

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.

«I love this course. It is taking me from one life into a new life. Now I know how to work with electricity and carry out installations. Although Iʼm not earning anything yet, I have broadened my horizons and new opportunities are opening up in my life. Iʼm very happy to be here.»

Mariam Albert, 21, electrician-in-training, Tanzania

Cooperation is the key to success

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.


YES Project
2nd Floor, NBC Building
Nyerere Road
Po. Box 2978 Dodoma, Tanzania
+255 (0) 26 232 1345

How Helvetas Supports People in Tanzania

Increasing income opportunities for farmers and improving primary education are some of our priorities in Tanzania.

Education and Vocational Skills

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