Tanzania pilots the ILO Skills Tracker

The text messaging tool, developed with the support of the Norwegian Government, is part of ILO’s innovative approach to skills development.

Press release | 21 February 2020

Sefu Mhenga works at a five star hotel at the central business district of Dar es Salaam where he was lucky enough to secure a job right after graduating from the ILO Quality Apprenticeship Programme in Hospitality in 2018. Sefu is one of 40 apprentices from Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar who tested the ILO Skills Tracker, which aims to track and monitor all beneficiaries of the Apprenticeship Programme. Trainers from the National Tourism College and partners in the hotel industry have also been the first to test this new tool.

The ILO Skills Tracker is a messaging and data collection tool that allows beneficiaries of the apprenticeship programme like Sefu to give direct feedback on their training and post training experiences. In turn, the Skills Tracker will help ILO and its constituents to better understand the quality and relevance of training programmes and institutions. This provides information for TVET agencies to improve the labour market outcomes for graduates and helps to measure employment outcomes more effectively.

The interactive chat based questionnaire allows apprentices to give quantitative and qualitative feedback via their mobiles or other electronic devices. Sefu and his peers provided constructive feedback on the ease of access, usability and interactive nature of the questionnaire.

“I like that I don’t have to fill in a form. It’s very simple, like chatting to a friend on WhatsApp. I also have the option to choose the Kiswahili option if I want.”  

The Skills Tracker ensures easy access by allowing apprentices to take surveys offline. The data collected will then be transmitted to the Tracker’s database when the internet activity is available. Furthermore, a service based on SMS and email is also available for users who do not have smartphones.

The expansive potential of the Skills Tracker was pointed out by the trainers at the National college of Tourism where apprentices receive their theory training.

“I think this would be a great tool to conduct more in-depth monitoring and assessment of the apprentices at the college and  in the hotels where they do their apprenticeship during our monitoring visits,” explained Mr Ongoso Mwita, Apprenticeship training coordinator.

Trainers like Mr Ongoso expect that the private nature of the questioner will likely allow the students to answer the in-depth monitoring visit questions more candidly than during the group interviews.

Mr Ongoso continues: “At the end of the day, we want these young people to be mobile and seek out opportunities everywhere, this tool will allow us to continue tracking their professional progress wherever they are.”

Former NCT Director of Studies and acting CEO, Steven Madenge expressed his gratitude to the ILO for its ongoing support of the programme.

“Although the 2019 apprenticeship enrolment process was not sponsored by the ILO, we are very interested in gaining more from ILO’s involvement and ongoing technical support.”

The Skills Tracker initiative is part of the SKILL-UP Programme, a joint effort by the ILO and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Programme aims to help ILO constituents enhance their skills systems and enable the Member States to take advantage of new opportunities offered by emerging global drivers of change pertaining to increased digitalization, technology, climate, and demographics, among others. The next pilot phase of the Skills Tracker will be in Bangladesh.