A new model of short-term, fee-based technical skills training in Ethiopia

Person driving truck
Hausa Mohamud Yusuf received driving lessons at RIPA partnered college and received job offers. She also plans to open a large vehicle maintenance shop.
December 01, 2023

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For the increasing numbers of young women and men transitioning out of pastoralism (TOPs) in the lowlands of Ethiopia, a lack of technical skills is a key obstacle to their success in navigating a pathway to employment. A major underlying challenge is the absence of technical courses and services that are relevant and accessible for these youth TOPs. 

This learning brief describes how the Mercy Corps-led RIPA-North program partnered with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions in the lowlands to pioneer a new model of short-term, fee-based training courses. The brief highlights the success of this model in securing employment. THe brief also discusses some of the challenges and opportunities of access for young women.

 Approach: Through this intervention the RIPA-North team aimed to catalyze a new model of technical training and associated services that is appropriate for the interests and capacities of youth TOPs, is profitable for TVETs and therefore sustainable, and ultimately results in young people accessing wage employment and self-employment after graduation.  

 Key achievements and indicators of success include:

·    11 of 13 new short-term courses have been successful / sustainable.

·    91% of graduates accessed an internship through the TVETs.

·    3 of 3 partners independently invested in new courses.

·    1,243 youth paid for, and graduated from, new short-term courses.

·    79% of graduates have secured employment.

·    1,317 jobs created in businesses started by graduates.

 Selected lessons learned and recommendations:

 Short-term, fee-based courses are a sustainable and effective business model for both public and private TVET institutions.

  1. The short-term, fee-based courses proved remarkably effective in helping young people attain employment (only 21% of graduates were unemployed 6 to 12 months after graduating).
  2. To increase participation by young women in Somali Region, TVETs should increase short-term courses with topics of interest to young women, increase their number of female teachers, and expand the use of marketing strategies targeting women.
  3. The intervention has delivered an excellent return-on-investment of $30 for each job created. Moreover, since the courses are sustainable, this return keeps improving over time.
  4. A recent change in the government’s national TVET policy, requiring TVETs to start generating income, presents an excellent ‘crowding-in’ opportunity for RIPA-North.