Skills 21 – Empowering citizens for inclusive and sustainable growth

Skills 21 project is a joint initiative of the Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organization (ILO), funded by the European Union. The project seeks to increase productivity and employment opportunities through an environmentally conscious, inclusive, demand-driven, and interlinked skills development system responding to the needs of the labour market.

Some two million people enter the Bangladesh workforce each year, however the capacity to provide skills training is limited. There is therefore a pressing need to help the country provide equitable and quality technical education capable of skilling and up skiiling large numbers of people to meet market demands.

This requires qualified teachers and assessors, up-to-date institutional facilities and a market driven competency-based inclusive skills system. These steps are crucial for enhancing labour productivity as well as facilitating industrialization, trade and inclusive economic growth.

The EU-funded ILO - implemented Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Reform Project successfully implemented the reforms in the formal TVET system and set the foundation for the nascent National Skills Development System (NSDS) in Bangladesh. However, to successfully address the needs of the country’s growing workforce, the system needs strengthening, promotion, adoption/adaption, and replication by stakeholders.

Skills 21 project addresses following priority areas, in particular:

  • Strengthening the quality of the TVET/Skills development system, including development of the Bangladesh National Qualifications Framework (BNQF) to harmonize qualification pathways across technical and formal education;
  • Creating model TVET institutes which are inclusive, environmentally conscious, high-quality and labour-market responsive;
  • Establishing a framework for a more conducive legislative, regulatory and institutional Sector Wide Approach (SWAP) in the TVET/skills development sector to improve TVET governance;
  • The project also aims to support collaboration between companies and relevant training providers to develop and implement demand-driven education and training programmes.

Skills 21 project highlights  


TVET COVID-19 Response plan: DTE, with technical support from the Skills 21 team, developed a COVID-19 TVET response plan. After mapping the effect of the pandemic in technical education, capacity of blended learning method, opportunities and challenges in online learning - the project structured the response plan with recommendations.

Skills training: 4196 youth enrolled and 2746 complete courses (32% of all students are female): Skills training in welding, graphic design, electrical installation and maintenance, plumbing, refrigeration & air conditioning, woodworking machine operation, sewing machine operation, caregiving and driving has been ongoing - via a blended learning system - throughout the pandemic at BS Polytechnic Institute, Rangamati; Feni Polytechnic Institute; Gaibandha TTC; IMT Bagerhat; Khulna Mahila Polytechnic Institute and Sylhet TSC, BKTTC Dhaka, BKTTC Chattogram, Rangamati TTC, Dhaka Mahila Polytechnic Institute, Dhaka Polytechnic Institute, and UCEP

Centres for Skills Excellence (CSEs): Teacher Training: 2784 trainers and assessors have been trained in Level 4 Competency-Based Training and Assessments through the CSE’s (TTTC, VTTI) and partner institutes (BTEB, BKTTC-Dhaka; BKTTC-Chattogram). In addition, 690 teachers completed the training on e-content and e-learning material development in VTTI. .

1793 complete entrepreneurship development training : Skills 21 partner institutes and SIYB Foundation conducted blended Entrepreneurship Development Training (EDT) for 1793 (38% of them are female) prospective entrepreneurs. In addition, 13 master trainers and 60 trainers trained to roll out EDT programme.

E-Campus: 176 online training materials: A team of trained TVET teachers produced 176 e-learning products ranging from video lectures and supplementary text materials. The content is now available in the e-campus, and the respective Facebook and YouTube pages of the respective TVET institutes.

51 master trainers trained:
51 master trainers trained on online materials development and training delivery through a two-months long distance learning programme facilitated by ITCILO. Earlier in 2020, 6 CSE/IMDC staff trained in materials development and management of e-learning.

RPL: 2841 workers assessed : 2841(2416 Male, 425 Female) took part in Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessments. 2215 ( 1897 Male, 318 Female) obtained skills certificate level 1 in different occupations.