The action acknowledges the pivotal role of young people for Africa’s socio-economic development and seeks to improve their occupational prospects through the support of innovative, job-oriented skills development programmes.
The action is articulated around three complementary components: i) support to market-oriented skills development programmes and increased engagement with the private sector, ii) sharing of best practices and capacity building to improve labour market information systems and skills anticipation tools and iii) VET staff development through mobility and exchanges of experience with European counterparts.
Africa's young population is rapidly growing and expected to double to over 830 million by 2050. If properly harnessed, this increase in the working age population could support increased productivity and stronger, more inclusive economic growth across the continent. However, youth unemployment is a major concern for many African countries.
According to the World Bank, youth account for 60% of Africa’s jobless. Furthermore, an estimated 95 million young men and women in sub-Saharan Africa are uneducated, and are either unemployed or engaged in poorly-paying precarious jobs. The large number of young people who are not in education, employment or training is not only an indication of the poor performance of national education and training systems but also a national security concern.
Guided by the aspirations under the Agenda 2063 and the African Youth Charter, the African Union acknowledges the pivotal role of young people for Africa’s socioeconomic development and the imperative of education and skills development for that purpose. This was also re-affirmed in the 5th AU-EU Summit, which called for putting in place mechanisms to promote youth development, the empowerment of women and the protection of girls to seize the advantage of the demographic dividend in Africa as opportunity for sustainable development.
The action aims to improve occupation prospects of young Africans through the support of innovative, job-oriented skills development programmes.
Its three components pursue complementary specific objectives:
- Component 1: to support market-oriented skills development through investments in innovative projects and stronger linkages with the private sector;
- Component 2: to strengthen capacities for evidence-based planning, promote multi-stakeholder engagement, and to promote comparability and transferability of competences by supporting regional/continental platforms for dialogue, sharing of best practices, and providing skills development products;
- Component 3: to improve the skills and competences of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) lecturers (teaching staff) and of students through a pilot mobility initiative.
The main activities are organized according to the 3 components.
Component 1: “Skills Initiative for Africa” Financing facility
- Support innovative incubator projects that introduce new training methodologies, and cooperative approaches;
- Support to innovative projects on restructuring of traditional apprentice systems to make it more efficient and promote upward mobility and professional development of apprentices, notably through the integration of ICT and technology-based teaching and learning methods;
- Facilitate collaboration between training providers and industries to promote demand driven curriculum development and internship programmes.
Component 2: “Skills Initiative for Africa” Technical Cooperation
- Support establishment of skills inventory and labour market information systems to analyse the supply and demand of skilled labour;
- Capacity building for member states, RECs, NEPAD on skills identification and anticipation methods, approaches and systems at national, regional, and sectoral level
- Facilitate and create matchmaking for private-public skills development initiatives;
- Support establishment of continental structures for promotion of private sector involvement in skills development
- Support the development of African Continental Qualification Framework (ACQF) that will facilitate comparability and mutual recognition of qualifications
Component 3: “Pilot VET mobility project”
- Setting up the mobility arrangements by the consortium of African and European VET providers and implementation of the mobility in the different EU Member States (in TVET schools and/or industry);
- Development of individual action plans for the schools (management) and the teaching staff involved in the mobility upon return
- Development of new/revised training offer and contents based on the results of the exchange programmes.