CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - CIDA

March 06, 2009 14:24 ET

Canada Launches Major Vocational Training Initiative for Developing Countries

WHITBY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 6, 2009) - The Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today launched the new Skills for Employment initiative that will help developing countries build a skilled workforce necessary for economic growth. The initiative will strengthen local training institutions in partnership with Canadian community colleges and enable students to acquire the quality vocational and technical skills needed for productive employment.

"In developing countries, for those living in poverty to succeed, basic education is only the first step. They also need training, skills and a chance for meaningful employment to live productive lives," said Minister Oda. "A skilled workforce will strengthen the foundation of businesses and industries as well as enhance the community's social stability. Canada has the tools to provide the necessary know-how and help develop a qualified workforce in developing countries around the world. That's what the Skills for Employment initiative aims to do."

The $95 millions new initiative will support vocational and technical training projects mainly in Africa, Asia and the Americas. This new funding comes in addition to the $140 million annual average that CIDA invests in vocational training.

"Colleges and institutes provide graduates with employment-ready advanced skills essential for Canada's economic growth and productivity," said James Knight, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC). "Supporting colleges overseas has led to positive results in many countries and contributed to internationalizing our own campuses to prepare our students and faculty for the global economy." ACCC represents 152 Canadian community colleges, institutes of technology, vocational training institutes, CEGEPS and university colleges across Canada.

Minister Oda also announced today that through the first component of the Skills for Employment initiative, an investment of $22.3 million to support countries in Africa, focused on Senegal, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Rwanda, Burkina Faso and South Africa. This support will help train over 2,000 individuals and result in qualified, certified trades and technical workers.

This contribution also highlights Canada's commitment to double its aid to Africa.


BACKGROUNDER

SKILLS FOR EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE

Canada is recognized worldwide for its strong education system and for the high quality of its education and skills development programming at the secondary school, community college and university levels, and for its expertise in the management of education reform. Guided by the development needs identified by its country partners, CIDA is increasing its commitment to provide relevant and sustainable development assistance in the area of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) through the Skills for Employment initiative.

The Skills for Employment initiative will enhance current investments in skills development, vocational education and technical training to support country strategies for sustainable development, and capacity to plan, implement and monitor labour market needs. This new initiative of $95M is in addition to the $140M that CIDA invests on average annually on technical and vocational training.

This initiative, delivered in cooperation with partners such as the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, is a series of programs that will support developing country efforts to establish strong TVET systems. The Initiative will unite Canadian community colleges and other stakeholders with counterparts in developing countries to establish TVET programs that will achieve concrete and quantifiable results.

Since 2006, our government and our global partners have made great efforts to improve access to quality basic education for all. Progress has been made, more children, both boys and girls, are starting and staying in school than ever before. With more children completing primary school, and with the largest cohort of young people entering the labour market, developing country governments are increasingly turning their attention to post primary education with its clear links to employment. Strong, relevant TVET programs serve as a bridge to the labour market and an important tool for social and economic development and poverty reduction.

Canada's investments in this area are expected to support the revision of national policies on TVET and labour force development, in order to better align training with market needs; to strengthen regional structures to ensure better coordination of training programs; to create appropriate mechanisms to involve business, industry and professional associations; and to enhance linkages between Canadian and training institutions in developing countries.

Effective technical and vocational education and training programming in Canada has contributed to the development of a highly-skilled workforce that meets the needs of local labour markets and is competitive in a global economy. Canada's success in technical and vocational education and training can be attributed in part to its strategic engagement of the private sector and to ensuring that programs are aligned with the needs of the labour market. The Skills for Employment initiative will build on that success and provide developing countries with access to the best experience, knowledge and expertise Canada has to offer.


BACKGROUNDER

SKILLS FOR EMPLOYMENT - AFRICA

As part of the Canadian International Development Agency's (CIDA) Skills for Employment initiative, the government of Canada is investing $22.3 million to support countries in Africa to identify strategies to modernize and deliver vocational training, identify new skills training programs linked to emerging labour market needs, and encourage strong partnerships.

The $95 million Skills for Employment initiative, delivered in cooperation with partners such as the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, supports developing country efforts to establish strong technical and vocational education and training systems. This training helps youth and other individuals gain the skills needed to engage in meaningful employment that contributes to economic and social development in their communities.

The Skills for Employment programming in Africa will focus on Senegal, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Rwanda, Burkina Faso and South Africa. The objective of this initiative is to unite Canadian community colleges with their counterparts in these countries to establish technical and vocational education and training programs that will achieve concrete and quantifiable results.

Canada's investments in the Skills for Employment initiative in Africa will contribute to workforce training and micro-enterprise support in sectors of the economy where there is a lack of skilled workers and entrepreneurs. It will also help recipient countries learn how to plan carefully the changes involved, upgrade or put in place the necessary facilities, modernize curricula, train trainers in key subject areas, assess private sector needs, and enhance linkages between Canadian and African training institutions.

Many developing country governments believe that strong, relevant technical and vocational education and training programs with solid links to the labour market will contribute to social stability and inclusion, poverty reduction, and sustainable economic development.

The end goal of the Skills for Employment initiative is to significantly increase the number of young men and women in skilled positions and meaningful employment.

The Skills for Employment initiative will help implement national policies and structures and competency-based training programs that will benefit over 2,000 individuals and generate qualified, certified trades and technical workers for the target sectors in these countries.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
    Michelle Coates
    Press Secretary
    819-953-6238
    or
    Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
    Media Relations Office
    819-953-6534
    media@acdi-cida.gc.ca