ICCO’s Profitable Opportunities for Food Security (PROOFS) program finalized their Vocational Education and Training (VET). The program worked with the private sector to foster economic opportunities for adolescent youth in 7 districts of Bangladesh. The program trained and created jobs for nearly 2,300 youth in the informal sector by working with 1,100 local traders/businesses; expanded small businesses and created safer work spaces; and contributed to increased household incomes.
In the program, young people learnt new trades, found jobs and set up small businesses, often employing other young people. Over 90 percent successfully completed their training on their own cost, of which 75 percent are already employed or self-employed.
Those who have started their own businesses earn as much as 10,000 taka per month. These numbers, more importantly, translate into something more precious: young mothers now confident that their children can afford a decent education; young men proud in becoming the primary bread earners of their family, knowing that their parents who spent their lives as subsistence farmers or daily wage workers can retire in peace.
Empowering young women
Nearly 50 percent of the graduates are young women. Once entirely dependent on their husband’s income, the women trained by PROOFS VET now have an income source for the very first time in their lives; several have began their own businesses and are determined to expand their enterprise.
A good example are the young women in the northern district of Rangpur, who were trained in hand embroidery craftsmanship. To ensure job security, not only did PROOFS bring a local trader to train these women, but also connected them to the market. Now, the trader gives them regular work orders and ensures that their products find a reliable market.
About the Vocational Education and Training
The PROOFS VET program standardized and improved the quality of the on-the-job training delivered by local master craftspeople/traders (Ostads) across 16 trades in seven districts of Bangladesh and connected local traders and their apprentices to the formal economy. The program focused on the informal sector and adopted an approach referred to as the Ostad (master craftsperson) model for apprentice training. Over its life, PROOFS VET standardized training toolkits across the 16 trades and trained local traders on workplace safety and health standards, code of conduct for pay and work hours, occupational skills, assessment of apprentices, and business management. Working with and through the local traders, PROOFS VET trained 2,300 adolescent youth in practical vocational skills and connected them to jobs.