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From the desk of the CEO-March 2018 newsletter address

Our CEO, Nigel Carpenter, delivered a lecture on the challenges and opportunities in establishing a Centre of Excellence focused on industry-led and the Australian TVET experience at the proposed location in Bandung.

Indonesia is currently undergoing a transition phase as it develops to become a knowledge-based economy focused on increased competitiveness, growth and productivity. Skills are significant obstacles in this respect, and the country’s government is investing more in the development of the nation’s education and training system to close these gaps and to transform the Indonesian technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system into one that provides demand-driven programmes, aimed at improving employability and participation in lifelong learning.

To continue Indonesia’s economic expansion President Widodo started an infrastructure development program to help bring more of the population out of poverty. The program requires millions of skilled people that are not available in Indonesia. To address this issue President Widodo instructed his Ministries to make vocational education reform a priority to improve the quality and competitiveness of his country’s human resources. Currently there is a significant mismatch between skills development and industry skill needs.

The main challenges currently facing TVET in Indonesia come down to a lack of engagement with industry and understanding of the demands of the labour market. The skills of the Indonesian workforce do not meet the demands of the labour market. Addressing this skill mismatch supports higher productivity, competitiveness and growth.

National TVET Centre of Excellence

As part of the national TVET reform Indonesia is establishing a new national TVET Centre of Excellence. I was invited to review the plans and deliver a lecture in Bandung last week on the challenges and opportunities of establishing the Centre.
Development of the Centre of Excellence for TVET in Indonesia will address the fundamental mismatch between training outcomes and industry needs. The objective is to influence the broader Indonesian TVET ecosystem to support students in finding the ‘right training’ at the ‘right time’ for the ‘right job’. It’s about having the right people in the right places.

The Indonesian Government recognises that the TVET system must be competency-based with standards pertaining to industry. In effect it must be demand-driven.
Further objectives of the Centre of Excellence are to:

• Open and develop new training programs relevant to the job market
• Develop a research and development centre, which will serve as a reference centre and vocational education policy analysis centre
• Establish and develop a teacher certification program
• Establish and develop a qualified teacher training and education centre
• Work with policy makers to drive change to TVET systems
• Develop equal access to quality job opportunities for all
• Ensure people have the skills needed by the job market

The Centre of Excellence recognises the need to work with Industry to identify Industry’s skills needs and help people graduating from TVET colleges find a job and address the quality of Indonesian teachers and lecturers.
During my visit we discussed many aspects of a successful TVET ecosystem including the following six principles:

• Competency based
• Industry led, stakeholder friendly
• Flexible, scalable and customisable
• Integrated soft skills
• Data driven
• Focused on vocational outcomes

Whilst recognising outcomes are based on a shared responsibility between government, industry and training organisations, we also discussed the importance of Industry’s role:

• Industry involved at every step-in qualification development and implementation (training) and training regulation
• Ultimately, industry is the primary ‘client’ of any TVET system, central to increasing human capital development
• While industry may ‘know’ what it needs, only an effective TVET system can help translate those needs into actionable skills development for the nation’s workforce capability while supporting a growing economy
• Both industry and training providers, supported by the TVET ecosystem as a whole, have a ‘hand-in-glove’ relationship
• The basis of this relationship is an approach to curriculum design and teaching that can support the priorities of both and lead to quality outcomes for students

The Centre of Excellence is in the design phase of determining how it can influence better outcomes. Sustainable Skills is helping to explore how it can influence the broader Indonesian TVET ecosystem and develop the human resource skills and TVET systems needed to support students in finding the ‘right training’ at the ‘right time’ for the ‘right job’.

Sustainable Skills develops, supports and assists effective technical and vocational education and training (TVET) systems worldwide.


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Technical Vocational Education and Training system in Uganda

Technical Vocational Education and Training system in Uganda

With a population of over 39 million, a youth population of 7.9 million (2015*), and a nominal GDP of 700 USD per capita (2017**),  Uganda has a 2.3% unemployment rate among the total labour force, according to World Bank Data.

Uganda’s TVET mission consists in ensuring that individuals and enterprises acquire the skills they need to raise productivity and income. The TVET system is under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES), which is responsible for programme implementation and monitoring, including procedures for planning, budgeting and annual reviews.

The two major sources of TVET funding are the public budget and private households through training fees. The share of TVET in the MoES budget is relatively low, approximately 4% to 7%. Public unit spending is also low by African standards. Training for the informal sector is largely donor-financed.

Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) is Uganda’s apex body for the private sector. It is made up of over 200 business associations, corporate bodies and the major public sector agencies that support private sector growth. Since its founding in 1995, PSFU has served as a focal point for private sector advocacy as well as capacity building and continues to sustain a positive policy dialogue with Government on behalf of the private sector.

Formal TVET system

TVET in Uganda is an overlapping three-tier system comprising:

  • Craftsman level training offered by technical schools and institutes;
  • Technician level training offered by technical colleges; and
  • Graduate Engineer level training offered by universities.

Private TVET providers represent a strong segment of the sector, estimated at more than 1,000 institutions in 2011, representing approximately 81% of all TVET providers.

Non-formal and Informal Systems

The informal sector remains a stronghold of employment, accounting for 58% of non-agricultural employment in 2011. The TVET system has largely neglected the specific training needs of the informal sector. There is no systematic approach to skills development for people already in or seeking to enter the informal sector. Many of the training offers are supply driven, not based on market assessments and only duplicate formal sector training at very low levels. Some very effective programmes cannot be replicated due to lack of information exchange and resources.

Current reforms

In 2010, the Government of Uganda , with support from the World Bank and the Government of Belgium, commissioned a consultant team of national and international experts to conduct a sub-sector study and subsequently form the basis of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 “Skilling Uganda”.

Four main interventions are considered critical for a successful TVET reform:

  • Building a comprehensive Public-Private Partnership (PPP);
  • Ensuring a strong and focused TVET management controlled by all major stakeholders;
  • Defining the requirements of the world of work as the benchmark for all TVET
    programmes and qualifications; and
  • Reforming the system of financing TVET in order to achieve long-term sustainability.


Source: Unesco-Unevoc World TVET Database

* Data Source: Unesco-Unevoc World TVET DatabaseAll statistics compiled from the United Nation’s Population Division’s World Population Prospects, the
2015 Revision (

**Data Source: International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 17 January 2017.

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From the desk of the CEO-February 2018 newsletter address

Sustainable Skills CEO, Nigel Carpenter, with Mary Jo Kakinda and Simon Peter Nangabo, Associate Consultants for the Uganda Project, Kampala, February 2018.

This is our first newsletter of 2018 and we hope you had a great Christmas and a fantastic celebration of the New Year. 2018 promises to be a big year for Sustainable Skills, with a number of strategic projects started in 2017 that we are confident will convert to business opportunities over the course of this year.

In late January, I travelled to Indonesia to visit the Ministry of Manpower’s BBPLK Polytechnic Bekasi, which is currently implementing a revitalisation plan with a strong focus on industry, and we hope Sustainable Skills will have the opportunity to help designing an efficient, industry-led vocational education system. During this trip I held a number of meetings with Indonesian government departments and organisations with the focus on developing TVET to improve skills outcomes and increase job opportunities. Indonesia wants to improve its TVET system. During March I will be visiting the site for a new TVET Centre of Excellence where we have been asked to advise on how the Centre of Excellence can improve TVET outcomes.

Between 5 and 8 February, I travelled to Cape Town to attend Mining Indaba, the World’s Largest Mining Investment Conference and the Largest Mining Event in Africa. For over 20 years, this event collected mining companies, investors and other stakeholders from around the world, and is dedicated to supporting education, career development, sustainable development, and other important causes in Africa.

Mining Indaba presented the opportunity to meet with international key stakeholders including governments, donors, organisations, mining companies, and delegations from Europe, America, Canada, Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya, Ghana as well as the Intergovernmental Forum.

The second part of my trip to Africa brought me to Kenya to meet with representatives of the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, which is looking for support to build the capacity of 3000 local workforce.

In Nairobi I had the chance to meet with TVETA and discuss about the opportunity to help Kenya developing a world standard TVET education system based on industry engagement. Sustainable Skills is looking forward to helping the new Mining Institute’s Committee with the objective of developing TVET to ensure locals have the skills industry needs. This followed a meeting with the Director General of TVETA who is revitalising TVET which is based on Australia’s systems and frameworks.

I moved from Kenya to Ethiopia, where the growing population needs jobs and skills. I met with the Ministry of Education and TVET Institute and have helped develop plans to improve the knowledge of teachers and lecturers.
As for a number of countries in the area, Ethiopia’s TVET system is also based on Australia’s.

I took the opportunity of my trip to Africa to meet our Kampala based team of exceptionally-qualified local consultants who are delivering our Due Diligence and Technical Evaluation project for employer-led short term training to address prevailing skills imbalances and shortages in Uganda. We’re working with the Skills Development Facility and Private Sector Foundation Uganda with the project sponsored by the World Bank. Our local team is currently formed by Mary Jo Kakinda and Simon Peter Nangabo and will increase to 3, based in Kampala, within the next few weeks. In the “Meet the Team” section of this newsletter we are proud to introduce Mary Jo Kakinda, Associate Consultant for the project.


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Ghana: challenges and opportunities of technical vocational education and training (TVET) system

Challenges and opportunities of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system in Ghana

Ghana is currently in the process to reform the national Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system with the aim to form highly skilled local workforces able to support the development of local industry sectors and contribute to a sustainable growth of the Country.

With a population of over 26 million people and a GDP of 1,550USD per capita,  Ghana has a 56.6% unemployment rate among the youth population. This situation is partially due to a difficult transition for young people from the school to the job market. At the same time, the Country urgently needs to form a local skilled workforce, able to respond to the increasing demand of new infrastructures, including an efficient public transport system, affordable and safe housing, and reliable energy supply.


Ghana employment rate

In 2006, The Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) has been established in Ghana, with the aim to reform the TVET system and contribute to the development of a productive workforce by linking the education system to the needs of the economy.

According to COTVET, one of the greatest challenges that TVET in Ghana is currently facing is to improve the perception and recognition among the population. Most people have dreams of pursuing academic careers to become doctors, lawyers, or accountants. Trades like auto mechanics, hairdressing, and carpentry are considered the poor alternative to university education.

As a consequence, university graduates spend an average of 2 to 5 years looking for non-existent employment, as local universities produce more graduates than the job market can absorb. Whereas,  many national industries, like the emerging oil and gas sector, have a real and growing demand for skilled workers that, in the absence of local skilled workforces, has to be filled by foreign labour.

Another significant challenge is the need to reform the national TVET system. TVET related policies promoted by COTVET aim to establish:

  • Industry-led and demand driven Competency-based training (CBT), aimed to promote equitable access, opportunities and career pathways for students and employees to develop their vocational, technical and generic skills; and
  • Workplace Experience Learning (WEL) to ensure that the theoretical and practical aspects of the CBT model are integrated and adequately prepare students for the world of work.

Other challenges are presented by limited equipment, lack of regular training for trainers,  needs of coordination between TVET and Industry,  lack of a clear qualification framework.

Sustainable Skills CEO, Nigel Carpenter, recently visited Ghana to attend the Sustaining Competitive and Responsible Enterprises (SCORE) Convention organised in Accra by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and explore potential opportunities for our organisation to support Ghana with the national TVET reform.