Stories Behind Our Work - Vocational skills and industry exposure: Pathways to enter the labour market

News | 22 December 2022

Nimo Rirash, 32 - A trainee at Jigjiga Polytechnic College

Nimo Rerash, 32, is a refugee from Kebribeyah, enrolled in a 3-months course in Aluminium Works at the Jigjiga Polytechnic College (JPTC). Nimo is currently receiving hands-on skills training under the ILO’s response to forced displacement as part of the multi-agency partnership (PROSPECTS) financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She is among seventy-four others who enrolled in sanitary installation and plumbing, as well as cobblestone works courses.

Earlier in the year, ILO PROSPECTS, in collaboration with the Ethiopian Employers’ Federation (EEF) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), piloted an initiative whereby eight trainers of the public JPTC acquired hands-on vocational and work management skills through a fourty-five-day workplace attachment. Those same trainers are now transferring their gained practical skills to Nimo and her classmates.

Nimo told ILO visitors from Geneva and Addis Ababa in October, that she was keen to complete her training in a month’s time and enter the labour market with practical skills and renewed enthusiasm.

“We now have the necessary skills to enter the world of work. What we need hereafter is financial support to start small businesses where we can put our skills to use and create more job opportunities for other people in the community,” Nimo said.

Nimo and her classmates are part the first cohort of refugees and host community from Kebribeyah placed in construction related course, where the market demand is largely unmet. The ILO plans to place competency certified trainees from this cohort with industries to gain additional practical skills at real life work setting.

ILO now plans to expand the work attachment programme to provide trainings to more trainers and trainees from TVET institutes. Given skills need of enterprises evolve rapidly, the involvement of employers’ organizations in skills governance arrangements is critical. Work-based learning has the potential to reduce skills mismatch, meet skills demand of a fast-changing labour market and provide cost-effective training.

In early 2023, the ILO and the LWF in collaboration with the JPTC will inaugurate in Kebribeyah a vocational center that will serve as a satellite to the college. The center aims to avail vocational skills training to refugees and their hosts, thereby bridging the access gap that was identified as one of the main reasons of their low economic prospects revealed in an ILO study.[1]

Vocational training and industry exposure will give trainees competitive skills to enter the labour market. Access to finance will take them further towards self-employment and self-sufficiency.

[1] TVET system assessment in Somali and Tigray regional states, Ethiopia, with a focus on inclusiveness (