Training and vocational integration for youth

Socio-professional training and work placements help reduce poverty, social exclusion and inequality, especially in rural areas of developing countries. Iram has worked on different aspects of this field for many years.

Training and employment are essential for sustainable development in rural Africa

Youth training and employment are now a major global issue. Prompt action is needed to tackle the risks created by the surge in youth unemployment, especially in developing countries whose labour markets are struggling to accommodate the growing number of young adults seeking work. It is very hard for young people to find jobs these days, even if they have practical or academic qualifications.

Around 25 million young adults enter the labour market every year in Africa, and the United Nations predicts that this figure will rise to 32 million a year by 2030! Some say that the continent’s wealth lies in its youth – but while an additional 330 million young people in the workforce by 2030 certainly represents considerable potential, educating and employing them is a huge challenge, especially in rural areas. The agricultural sector employs up to 60% of the population in most sub-Saharan African countries, and as many as 75% in the Sahel, but will be hard pushed to ‘absorb’ these millions of young people as land fragmentation intensifies due to demographic pressure. Many youngsters are put off by the poor pay and harsh working and living conditions in this sector, and the State and its partners lack the financial resources to fund interventions that adequately address the needs and expectations of the young. Urgent action is required to find solutions to this problem, develop the capacities of young people in Africa and give them the tools they need to integrate into different social, professional and economic settings.

Iram’s approach

Iram is involved in various aspects of this field:

  • reflection on training policies (basic and continuous vocational training) and employment opportunities for young Africans in rural areas
  • designing training and employment mechanisms and/or interventions
  • monitoring, evaluating and developing training mechanisms
  • developing specific funding tools for training and work placement.

This work is informed by the institute’s long experience with social, economic and territorial development in rural areas of the South, defining public policies, supporting small businesses and professional organisations, and setting up microfinance mechanisms.

Iram’s approach in this field aims to combine economic opportunities in the agricultural sector with opportunities for young people’s personal development. Successful work placements therefore need individualised support that takes account of what the main beneficiaries – young people – need and want.