The Government of Rwanda designed a five-year (2014-2019) National Employment Program (NEP) to serve the following objectives: (a) creating sufficient jobs that are adequately remunerative and sustainable across the economy, (b) equipping the workforce with vital skills and attitude for increased productivity that are needed for the growth of the private sector, and (c) provide a national framework for coordinating all employment and related initiatives and activities in the public, private sector and civil society.
The principles and aim of the NEP are derived from the thematic orientation, objectives and strategy of the EDPRS-2 which recognizes the important role of employment for economic development and poverty reduction and, accordingly, calls for “200,000 off-farm jobs to be created each year” to meet the employment needs of the labour force, precipitated by “increasing population density and demographic trends and the growing youth share of the population”. This is the national target for job creation that has been adopted by the NEP.
The strategic policy and program interventions proposed within the framework of the NEP for achieving its objectives, goals and targets are organized under the following four main pillars: (a) Skills Development; (b) Entrepreneurship and Business Development; (c) Labour Market Intervention; and (d) Coordination and M&E.
The Priority Skills for Growth program (PSG) has been initiated through a partnership agreement between World Bank and government of Rwanda to support the implementation of NEP through a Program for Results (PforR) financing model. The program results areas include (i) reinforcing governance of the skills development system, (ii) ensuring provision of quality training programs with market relevance, (iii) expanding opportunities for continuous upgrading of job-relevant skills for sustained employability; and (iv) capacity building for implementation.
The major components of PSG include Skills Development Fund II whose objective is to minimize skills gaps experienced by private business operators by rapidly increasing the supply of skills in high demand in the labour market and to ease the entry of new entrants to the labour market by providing them with labour market-relevant skills. The present phase of SDF (SDF II) builds on the experience of the previous SDF.
The SDF will support short-term training under Pillar 1 of the NEP including, employer-led short-term vocational training responding to specific skills requirements, provision of labour market relevant skills for out-of-school youth, and internships and apprenticeships for TVET students or graduates. The focus will be on short-term, practical and technical training of employees (including business skills for the informal sector) and school-leavers. The SDF will mainly finance costs associated with development and delivery of the supported training activities.
The SDF II shall be implemented by WDA through the existing NEP structures and guidelines and shall expand training opportunities for the acquisition of quality, market-relevant skills with more focus in selected economic sectors. The selected economic sectors include energy, transport and logistics, and manufacturing (with a focus on ‘Made in Rwanda’ products).
The target sectors were selected on basis of (i) sectors that employ large numbers of the population; (ii) sectors with potential for value addition and improved productivity; (iii) sectors where foreign direct investment is increasing and/or where significant public finances have been directed; and (iv) sectors that will support growth in other sectors.
While the focus is on the above-mentioned priority economic sectors, applications from other sectors are eligible for support provided there is a robust and well-documented justification in terms of employment opportunities for the graduates. The applicant will have to provide the documentation required by the WDA to assess the labour market relevance of the application. This must be in the form of a demand assessment.
The SDF II is supposed to:
- Stimulate competition and delivery of innovative program offerings;
- Promote collaboration between enterprises and training centres and institutions;
- Increase skills acquisition among disadvantaged groups; and
- Improve the efficiency of training provision.
SDF is a challenge fund providing matching grants to companies and TVET institutions eligible for support according to the principles outlined in the manual. Hence, the applications will evaluated according to their relevance for further development of the Rwandan private sector and providing employment opportunities youth entering the labour market.
Training areas that are not eligible for SDF II include:
- Literacy training;
- General education;
- Higher education (degree programmes);
- Public administration.
The SDF is referred to the Project Appraisal Document of the Priority Skills for Growth and the Financial Agreement was signed on 17th July 2017 between World Bank and Government of Rwanda.
This project will support short-term training in line with Pillar 1 of the NEP including, (a) employer-led short-term vocational training responding to specific skills requirements (Rapid Response Training), (b) provision of labour market relevant skills for out-of-school youth, recognition of skills acquired through informal and non-formal training, and upgrading of the kills of owners and employees of micro enterprises and (c) apprenticeships and internships for TVET students and graduates.
The focus will be on short-term, practical and technical training of employees (including business skills for the informal sector), school-leavers, and unemployed graduates.
The training duration ranges from few days to six months and for some cases this period can be extended depending on the training package. The program will mainly finance costs associated with development and delivery of the supported training activities.
The main target groups include:
- Employees (present and prospective) of existing companies and investors;
- Workers in the informal sector in need of skills upgrading;
- Young adults (without gainfully employed) in need of basic skills training;
- Skilled workers in need of certification of their competences (Recognition of Prior Learning);
- Students from TVET institutions who need to acquire additional practical skills relevant for their training;
- Public and private technical and vocational training centres and institutions that needs to upgrade their technical and operational capacity to deliver relevant and quality training programmes; and
- Professional associations, Federations, Cooperatives, NGOs and companies to expand their capacity to deliver industry relevant training programmes for current and prospective workers.
The SDF II will have three windows (‘Rapid Response’, ‘Out-of-school Youth’, and ‘Apprenticeship/internship’) catering for different target groups. The beneficiaries will be selected through rigorous selection criteria based on competitiveness and labor market relevance with more focus to the three economic priority sectors. The procedures for selecting beneficiaries are detailed in the respective SDF II windows.
The results framework of SDF II to be implemented in three years is tied to disbursement – linked indicators and verification protocols and indicator description as that has to be fulfilled as indicated in Table 1, 2 and 3.