BLOG: Helping Youth in Bangladesh STEP up to Better Jobs, May 2016
- Creating more and better jobs is crucial to Bangladesh’s growth as 2.1 million youths enter the job market every year.
- Relevant skills and vocational training will help Bangladeshi youths find better jobs in the local and overseas job markets.
- The Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) will help 420,000 poor students complete vocational training and diploma courses.
Creating more and better jobs is crucial to Bangladesh’s economic development as 2.1 million youths enter the job market every year. Both the local and global economies are shifting toward industry and services and demand for skilled manpower is on the rise. Therefore, the government of Bangladesh has made workforce development a priority through technical and vocational education training.
Strengthening technical and vocational training
The Skills and Training Enhancement Project (STEP) help youths gain relevant skills to compete on the global job market. To that end, STEP supports public and private training institutions and provides modern equipment, teaching aids and learning materials to improve the quality of technical and vocation training in Bangladesh. To meet market demand, polytechnic institutions have aligned their curricula to improve jobs opportunities for students.
STEP provides stipends to more than 100,000 poor youths in 93 polytechnics. Notably, universal stipend for girls in STEP-supported public and private polytechnic increased female enrolment from 10% to 15% of all students. And, for the first time, 9,000 informal workers received formal skills certification through the Recognition of Prior Learning Program, which aims to increase their chances of finding better employment. STEP also trained 1,200 teachers and filled 95% vacant teaching posts in polytechnic institutions.
"I always had a dream of having an automobile workshop. The technical course gave me the confidence to start my business and earn my living. I started my own workshop and love what I am doing. "
Rajib Hore, Student
Job opportunities for youth
STEP helped nearly 77,000 youths, of whom one third are women, receive free 6-month vocational training in 38 trades within the electrical, automotive and garment sectors. The vast majority of students complete the courses and within six months 42% were employed.
“I got an offer to join as a beautician in a beauty parlor,” says Sonia Akter. “I accepted the offer and am currently earning BDT 6,000 a month.”
Some trainees like Dolly, a short course participant who is now running a tailoring shop, also choose to start up their own business: “I work hard,” she says, “I can support my family to live with dignity.”
“I always had a dream of having an automobile workshop. The technical course gave me the confidence to start my business and earn my living. I started my own workshop and love what I am doing,” says Rajib Hore proudly.
Similar to Sonia, Rajib and Dolly, hundreds of young men and women from low income families enrolled in technical and vocational courses and turned their lives around by learning market oriented-skills
Building on the success of STEP, the World Bank approved an additional financing of $100 million. The project will scale-up successful activities and introduce key reforms at the institutional level to improve technical and vocational education training.
With this support, more students, especially women, will enroll and 420,000 poor students are expected to complete vocational training and diploma courses.
More private and public polytechnics will improve classrooms and laboratories, and establish industrial partnerships for internships, job placement and job counselling services.
By equipping a new generation with the skills that make them competitive on the job market, STEP is a cornerstone of Bangladesh’s strategy to alleviate poverty and boost its growth.
With the additional financing, the World Bank’s total support to the project stands at $179 million, with co-financing of $16.7 million in grants from the government of Canada.
Originally published by: The World Bank