Khartoum State has seen rapid urbanisation since the 1970s, largely as the result of a mass rural-to-urban migration of a young population, caused by the combined impact of the civil war with the South, desertification and drought. Furthermore, poverty in a post-conflict environment has manifested itself in difficulty of access to basic needs, notably to food, water, shelter, clothing, health, education, training and productive jobs. One of the root causes of persistent poverty and unrest consists in already high and further growing unemployment and underemployment rates, particularly among the young population. In addition, an estimated two million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), almost 28% of the State’s population, currently reside within the State, many without productive jobs and skills training.
It is in this context that the Governor of Khartoum State approached UNIDO for technical assistance to build capacities for YED. However, the existing VTCs are in a dilapidated state, requiring rehabilitation and refurbishment. Therefore, implementation should address renovation and rehabilitation of existing VTCs in Khartoum State in parallel with MSE/PSD development. A systematic link between skills training and market demands for entrepreneurship development is required in order to generate employment, increase productivity, and create an entrepreneurial culture. The State Government of Khartoum is committed to address this development challenge by improving urban poor livelihoods through supporting vocational training, YED and enterprise set up. This project is proposed to assist the State of Khartoum in these endeavours.
The European Commission (EC/Sudan) has proposed to fund this project. It has requested UNIDO to implement this project through existing VTCs to be rehabilitated, in order to develop sustainable livelihoods and create productive employment opportunities for young persons in Khartoum State, including women and IDPs.
This proposal for Khartoum State should be considered as an extension of UNIDO’s assistance and current support provided to Sudan, i.e. Wau and Malakal VTC, to effectively rehabilitate and revitalise its VTCs for job creation through YED. The proposed project for Khartoum State will be implemented by UNIDO because of its technical and managerial expertise in setting up capacity building programmes for YED in various technical sectors, in line with the requirements for MSE development and job creation. Reference should be made to the ongoing UNIDO technical assistance and experiences gained in Malakal to include YED in the VTC. This is unique in Southern Sudan. UNIDO’s comparative advantage is based on its current assistance to Malakal in the Upper Nile State to rehabilitate and build capacities at its VTC. This has resulted in maintaining a good network of national and international expertise for training, public-private linkages for job creation, strategy formulation and technology transfer for vocational and technical training, curriculum development and support programmes for YED, which would also be used for the implementation in Khartoum State.
The strategy of this project is to develop sustainable livelihoods and create productive employment opportunities for IDPs and youngsters, including women, through the rehabilitation of vocational and technical skills training, apprenticeship programmes, and skills upgrading courses, as well as trade testing activities to be combined with YED/business development. The project will assist in building up a pool of innovative professional skills and establish competitive thinking among entrepreneurs to facilitate the production and marketing. This project will link skills training to employment following a strategy with two core components:
- Capacity Building in seven Vocational Training Centres in Khartoum State, and
- Vocational Training in IDP areas to promote entrepreneurial and business development activities.
The project will focus on institutional strengthening of NGOs/CBOs and capacity building of partners that will continue to provide subsequent business support services including training after completion of the project (after assistance period).
With reference to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) #1, #3, and #8 with a focus on target #16 (Productive Work for Youth) and target #18 (Private Sector Development), the Sudan Integrated Programme Development Strategy and its Contingency Plan, the project intends to improve the overall socio-economic standards of living of young persons, in particular those young displaced persons due to the consequences of war, through technology acquisition for enterprise development. Value addition will be brought about by providing market demand-oriented skills for developing priority sub-sectors to be identified by the project.
The implementation period of the proposed project is twenty-one (21) months. Implementation is planned to start in April 2007. The project is part of a larger EC assistance framework for Sudan, which holds until the end of 2008.
Frequently asked questions
What is a VTC?
VTC stands for 'Vocational Training Centre'. These are centres where youth and young adults, both men and women can obtain training or improve their skills in technical subjects, therefore increasing their employability and entrepreneurial potential. Training offered at the centres will incorporate the Competency based Training (CBT) approach, a new modular approach which is more cost effective in the long run.
What is the concept behind VTCs?
Through the institutional competency building of VTCs as well as by stressing industrial relevance and dimensions of skills development, UNIDO aims to expand and enhance training services available to youth and women. The objectives are to improve employability, foster an entrepreneurial mindset and environment in addition to creating market driven job opportunities, which in turn can contribute to poverty reduction. UNIDO's entrepreneurship development programme provides the trainees with relevant entrepreneurial competencies to engage in different technical sectors. The trainees' personal attitudes, behaviours, technical skills and knowledge are providing them with a competitive edge to engage in the workforce with greater employability as prospective entrepreneurs. Training for Youth Entrepreneurship Development (YED) or Women Entrepreneurship Development (WED) encompasses a holistic approach for opportunity driven entrepreneurship.
What services are offered?
The centres offer market-oriented vocational and entrepreneurial training in various disciplines and or technical sectors, namely:
- Metalwork & welding
- Engineering design
- Building & construction
- Wood work
- Electrical engineering
- Leather design
- Food processing
- Hotel & catering services
- Hair care & related services.
These skills contribute to the quality of life of the local community by (1) fostering a productive culture and an industrial mindset of adding value to the community through service provision, and by (2) developing the skills and knowledge of men and women to become an employable workforce and/or business owners with the relevant technical and entrepreneurial competence.
The VTC promotes a training-cum-production methodology to facilitate application of entrepreneurship in technical sectors. The training is geared to foster a greater entrepreneurial and market oriented mindset through practicing with real-life commercial orders and on the job training.
Who is able to access the services offered at the VTC?
Youth, women, and vulnerable groups, i.e. Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR), and Internationally Displaced Populations (IDPs).
How long does the training last?
The current regular traditional curriculum consists of certified 3-year course programmes. However, UNIDO through the projects implemented in Sudan is promoting a more market-oriented approach by promoting certified short courses and Competency-Based Training (CBT).
How is the training structured in terms of time?
How flexible are the services offered to the needs of female students?
UNIDO is fully supporting gender parity in enrol and set-up of the VTCs. In addition courses are offered in a modular/short manner.
Is there an age limit for receiving training at a VTC?
15 years of age and above
What basic skills do I need to attend training at the VTC?
To be able to fully benefit from the training trainees must at minimum have attended primary school and full literacy. The training offered is not geared at blue-collar or manual jobs, but more at bringing an innovative edge to a technical skills set.
Are there any costs involved with working at a VTC?
The trainees in the regular 3-year programme pay a fee of $60 USD per year.
Do I receive and certification at the end of the training period?
Yes, all training courses are certified by the Ministry of Labour and the Supreme Council for Vocational Training and Apprenticeships.
What opportunities are available to me after engaging in training at the VTC?
Trainees are furnished with:
- Tools and confidence to set up their own businesses,
- Access to incubation (business support) services at the VTCs to facilitate the set-up of business enterprise.
- Entrepreneurship and business skills obtained for increased employability
- Set-up for coaching and further EDP training /BDS at the VTCs on site.