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German development policy

Training and youth employment

Students at the ETEKA vocational training school in Kabgayi, Rwanda operate an electronic switching system

Unemployment and underemployment are one of the biggest problems in the countries with which Germany engages in development cooperation. Young people, above all young women, are particularly hard hit by this problem: the International Labour Organization (ILO) has calculated that about 71 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 are currently unemployed. In the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, one in every three youths are affected.

The high level of youth unemployment not only causes huge economic damage in the countries concerned; the social costs are also enormous. Young people who cannot find work have no prospects for the future. They are frustrated and feel that they are useless and excluded from society. There is considerable potential for conflict and violence in this situation.

Over the next few years the number of young people on the labour market will increase dramatically. Providing them with vocational training, decent work and enough money to live on, thus giving them hope for a better future, is an important contribution towards securing peaceful relations throughout the world. That is why, with the eighth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 8.6), the international community has set itself the task of combating youth unemployment. And the goal of quality education (SDG 4) is about facilitating access to education and training for all.

The integrated approach to boosting youth employment

Girls in ICT Day workshop at British School Geneva

Germany applies an integrated approach in its efforts to boost youth employment. This approach essentially comprises three dimensions that are mutually dependent and mutually complementary:

  • Promoting the private sector and creating productive and decent jobs, including by means of efforts aimed at improving the legal environment and access to finance for businesses, building competitive economic structures, and advising governments on economic policy issues such as industrial and competition policy
  • Improving the coordination of supply and demand on the labour market by means of effective careers advice and guidance, job placement services and labour market information
  • Increasing the employability of young job seekers by means of improved vocational training and qualifications, especially for disadvantaged young people

Vocational training

Workbench with vices in a training workshop

With its 2015 Education Strategy the BMZ has established the following priorities for the vocational education sector:

  • Ensure equitable access to vocational education for all
  • Enhance the alignment of vocational training systems with the labour market
  • Promote vocational education in rural areas
  • Develop qualification systems for those sectors in which the shortage of skilled workers is especially high (in particular agriculture, energy, manufacturing, skilled trades, healthcare), and needs-oriented qualifications for target groups in the informal sector
  • Provide more support for modern service sectors such as information and communication technologies (ICT)
  • Ensure collaboration with industry and civil society

Further information on the topic of vocational education and training can be found here.


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