Decent work gives people perspectives and stabilizes communities that have been transformed by a large influx of newcomers. To obtain a decent job, people need to have the right skills to find work, to build their career, to contribute productively to society and integrate into local economic life. To support employability and refugees’ access to labour markets, PROSPECTS is putting in place several skills-related interventions.

The numerous challenges refugees face in accessing quality training and decent jobs include the under-utilization of skills, a lack of employment or training opportunities, lack of information on available learning opportunities, and exploitation of low-skilled workers. Education and training are the key to making people employable, thereby allowing them to gain access to decent work and to escape poverty. Skills can help the refugees become more resilient and transform their lives. Moreover, refugees, at all skills levels, broaden the pool of available skills. Larger labour supply, in turn, may lead to better skills matching which can translate into improved productivity in host countries.

PROSPECTS will invest in demand-led skills building for forcibly displaced persons and host communities, with a view to sustaining livelihoods, facilitating participation in economic life and contributing to social cohesion fruitful returns such as self-sufficiency and improved social insertion in the long term.

Making learning environments inclusive for all

Given the heterogeneity of disadvantaged groups, such as women, youth, persons with disabilities, workers in rural areas or in the informal economy, migrants or refugees, education and training systems and programmes need to:

  • overcome the range of existing barriers through carefully designed policy interventions
  • respond flexibly to different needs, and:
  • address questions of status and challenge social perceptions.
Moreover, targeted initiatives to address challenges faced by particular groups should complement efforts to build inclusive TVET systems that cater to all needs.

All skills development provided needs to respond to identified skills demand. Skills profiling studies along with vocational and career guidance help assess refugees’ skills and needs and can then, together with market assessments, inform the design of new training programs, bridging courses, remedial education or job readiness training.

Effective skills training courses provide relevant vocational and technical skills to both refugees and host communities, and mainstream core skills for employability, workplace learning, awareness of labour rights, occupational safety and health, and career guidance into training programmes. This is particularly important since refugees tend to work in low-skilled sectors and unsafe working conditions.

Skills recognition services, post training support and active labour market programmes (ALMPs) offer a package of support services including job-search assistance and career counselling that are crucial to enhance employability and facilitate transitions to decent work. Inclusive skills development has the potential to strengthen social cohesion, if trainers and teachers, enterprise and co-workers are well trained, conflict-sensitive, and provide inclusive learning environments for all. .


Strengthening skills systems

The ILO works with member states to reform and strengthen their national skills policies and improve their training systems. Coordinated efforts are needed to build integrated national approaches to skills development so that forcibly displaced persons, enterprises and host society can access the skills they need and deploy them in a way that benefits all.

PROSPECTS work with governments, employers' and workers’ organizations to improve the employability of forcibly displaced persons, and move young people into productive and decent work. Social dialogue is paramount to ensure that skills delivered are demanded and valued by employers, and that workers have equal access to learning opportunities under fair conditions.

The Partnership also works to increase the productivity of enterprises through better quality and relevant training. It engages enterprises of all sizes in the development of occupational and qualification standards, workbased learning such as apprenticeships, and in skills recognition systems to ensure that content meets the needs of the labour market. Read more

Recognition of prior learning

Conflict and violence often force people to leave their home and move to another place where their skills and qualifications might not be immediately recognized or where they often lack a network that could facilitate their job search. A persons’ skills cannot be utilized, if the learning and qualifications achieved before moving are not recognized elsewhere. PROSPECTS is supporting refugees to have their foreign qualifications or prior learning recognized to obtain official qualifications for their skills.

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process can help these individuals acquire a formal qualification that matches their knowledge and skills, and thereby contributes to improving their employability, mobility, lifelong learning, self-esteem, and transition to formality.

While public authorities and employers often struggle to estimate and assess the skills of a new recruit, RPL also helps make skills visible. Employment services can better service and match individuals with suitable jobs. Governments have better information about available skills, witness more transparent and effective labour markets, as well as contribute to social inclusion and equity.For forcibly displaced persons and host communities, RPL can be an avenue to further education, training and to more decent jobs.


Apprenticeships are one of the most effective way to improve employability and facilitate young people’s transitions into employment. They combine classroom-based and workplace learning in recognition of the benefits of a meaningful exposure to the World of Work. They are characterized by hands on trainings in real work environments and apprentices earn while they learn. Enterprises operating in the host regions and providing goods and services with market potential are crucial partners to provide work based learning and offer quality apprenticeships. Countries with large informal economies often train young people in informal apprenticeships that provide no classroom-based learning and often display severe decent work deficits. Instead of ignoring or combatting this informal system, the ILO promotes improvements of informal apprenticeships to the benefit of host communities and forcibly displaced people so that upgraded quality apprenticeships contribute to local economic development. These public-private partnerships, either implemented by upgrading informal apprenticeship practices, or by introducing quality apprenticeships with formal employers as a combination of on-the-job training and classroom-based education, ensure highly effective instruction and adequate remuneration and cost-sharing arrangements.

Integrating skills development in Employment Intensive Investments Projects (EIIP)

Around the world millions of people lack infrastructure (roads, bridges, water supply, and other facilities such as schools, hospitals, etc.) to access basic services (water, health, education). The ILO’s employment-intensive investment program (EIIP) links infrastructure development and environmental works with employment creation relying on local labour and resources. Therefore, they create much needed employment and income, reduce costs, save foreign currency, and support local industry while increasing the capacity of local institutions. Skills development opportunities, either on-the-job or following a period of employment are an important element to ensuring the sustainability of EIIPs, since they allow beneficiaries to acquire market-relevant skills that may enable them to obtain further employment or to start their own businesses after the programme is completed. Quality training – for beneficiaries as well as contractors, and supervisors – presents a great opportunity in contexts of forced displacement or (post) conflict where new markets may be only just (re-) emerging.

Demand-led community-based training

The Training for Rural Economic Empowerment (TREE) Programme supports the transitions of men and women in rural areas into decent work using a community-based approach to skills development. It delivers skills to areas that are underserved with regard to skills and lifelog learning. By linking training directly to community-determined economic opportunities, the TREE approach ensures that skills delivered are relevant. Employment and income generating opportunities are delivered jointly with the necessary training and post-training support. This ILO methodology follows the principles of needs analysis, local community participation and engagement with institutional partners in different economic and social settings. By engaging the relevant institutional partners, TREE serves as a vehicle for the promotion of sustainable rural livelihoods by targeting the most disadvantaged people in rural community, in many cases women or youth.