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Based on our work in the MENA on labor market and skills development ecosystem, we were approached by the Congo National Training Fund to identify public-private partnerships to address high youth unemployment. Like many Middle Eastern countries, approximately 75% of the population is under 35 and preference for public sector employment remains strong. Whilst many young people are employed in informal, low skill, low wage jobs, sectors with the capacity to provide high skill, high wage jobs have low numbers of Congolese employees.
The Congo National Development Strategy defined several promising occupations in the country’s most valuable sectors for nationalization. However, companies in these sectors had not been consulted on the particular types of skills shortages they were facing or key occupations that lacked strong applicants. We conducted site visits and one-on-one interviews with key companies to pinpoint in-demand occupations and assess potential for developing a rigorous methodology to evaluate opportunities for public-private partnerships.
By developing and deploying an establishment survey in partnership with these companies, we were able to generate key data to identify and prioritize specific occupations, skills, and industries for funding and partnership interventions. Based on this data and preliminary discussions, we spotlighted public-private partnership opportunities with key employers to optimize the National Fund for Support to Vocational Integration and Self-Employment’s training programs.
Based on key interviews, results from the establishment skill survey, and partnership discussions, we developed a TVET roadmap to realize the aspirations of the National Development Strategy. The map established the national strategy towards increasing public-private partnerships to nationalize workforces in priority economic sectors critical to Congo’s development ambitions.
We identified promising occupations offering high wages in key sectors in Congo to draw talented youth into formal, private sector employment and away from the public sector. This engagement enabled the identification of deficiencies in the TVET system which were preventing employers from attaining the skills they needed and slowing progress towards National Development Strategy workforce goals. Our work culminated in the country’s first national TVET strategy – a transformation roadmap for bringing TVET in line with socioeconomic priorities and gaining buy-in from the country’s largest employers to resolve skills shortages in priority economic sectors.