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Improving the livelihoods of unemployed youths

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The provision of market-driven, high-quality agricultural training: that is the goal of Nurture Education and Development (NED). The organization transforms the lives of unemployed youth and increases agricultural production. Along with its partners, NED followed the 7-STEPS approach and carried out a detailed assessment of labour market needs and current policies. Self-employment was identified as a key focus for TVETs in rural areas.

Key words:

  • Value chain assessment
  • Labour market analysis
  • Food security

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As NED puts it: ‘A market is a more generous parent.’

NED and its partners each have their own area of expertise. NED has expertise in developing vocational and technical skills training curricula, labour market and needs assessment, teacher training, training programme evaluation, partnership, apprenticeship and industrial attachment programmes and TVET systems development. Through former staff of the TVET Agency of the Federal Ministry of Education, NED’s Executive Director introduced a culture of working closely with government, employers and companies to satisfy employers’ needs and enhance the relevance and quality of TVET training in the NGO sector. NED also has expertise in providing training for TVET trainers, employers and programme stakeholders.

F-Farm, one of the partners, has expertise in conducting labour market assessments, value chain and entrepreneurship education and development.

FC has expertise in fair economic development, particularly in farming. It has its own microfinance institutions, and undertakes needs assessments and implements self-help programmes grounded in evidence-based data.

WCAT has expertise in institutional-based TVET training programmes, undertaking training needs assessments and skills testing, and certification in partnership with local employers and government. It also has expertise in employing trainees in the informal sector.

The assessment by GDAO suggested that the production of honey, milk and seedlings were opportunity areas in Debre Markos town, in terms of competitiveness, targeting and a favourable business environment.


The meetings held to define the labour market involved:

  • Brainstorming sessions to develop a shared understanding of the concepts of labour market assessment, needs assessment and value chain assessment.
  • Gathering policies and regulations on the labour market and consulting the relevant agencies mandated, which already have experience in this area.
  • Reviewing the relevant literature (reports from the ILO, MOLSA and other institutions).
  • Appointing F-Farm to provide training to NED and other cluster members on labour market assessment.
  • Development of data collection tools.
  • Data collection tools adapted by F-Farm and NED.
  • Collaboration with institutions to identify needs.
  • Identifying institutions that might offer employment, hiring and apprenticeship opportunities.
  • Developing an action plan and conducting the actual assessment.


  • Governmental organizations, agencies and non-state actors.
  • Six woredas (districts) Technical Vocational and Enterprise Development (TVED) institutions, the Women, Children and Youth Affairs Office (WCYAO), unemployed youth, employers, businesses involved in the labour market analysis.
  • NED, local implementing partners (LIPs), private sector actors, TVET colleges.


NED needed skilled manpower to conduct the labour market assessment. Material resources such as facilitators, vehicles, fuel, data collectors for each partner, etc., were also needed.

To analyse the labour market, NED and the LIPs established an assessment team composed of TVEDs, TVET colleges, the WCYA office and potential trainees. The analysis was completed within two months.

The labour market analysis entailed:

  • Training project and programme staff to assist F-Farm and their own respective NGOs with data collection and analysis.
  • Undertaking the data collection by engaging and involving the major stakeholders.
  • Identifying training needs for relevant skills.
  • Delineating training areas in line with labour market demand, to facilitate the development of tailor-made training programmes.
  • Identifying potential value chains and training institutions to link training providers to the market.
  • Holding validation workshops, facilitated by F-Farm at the national level.
  • Each partner undertaking sensitization and project-launching workshops in each implementing woreda and zone.


Defining the labour market:

  • Identification of institutions that can provide employment opportunities, including local government offices and farms, plus a small number of construction projects.
  • Delineating training areas for short-term needs/tailor-made training programmes that are responsive to the needs of the trainees.
  • Identifying the market value chains and training institutions to improve the food security situation in local areas.

Analysing the labour market:

  • In Debretabour, the WCAT identified sheep fattening, diary, poultry, vegetables, beekeeping, cattle fattening, fisheries and horticulture as major opportunities for the programme.
  • NED identified sheep, poultry, vegetables and bull-farming as the sectors with the most potential.
  • NED identified the number of young people who are very vulnerable and unemployed, with no land or employment opportunities, who are dependent on their parents.
  • NED also identified persons with disabilities, women and vulnerable girls as targets of the programme.
  • The FC assessment indicates unemployed youth can move from place to place in their search for good, remunerative work.

Lessons learned

Defining the labour market:

  • Self-employment is an important source of jobs in agricultural areas. TVETs should provide quality training in this area.
  • This kind of assessment brings a range of benefits (e.g. as a source of information for law-enforcing bodies and other organizations, improved understanding of labour market).
  • Assessment was facilitated locally by partners due to the strong operational presence of NGOs and good relations with the population. This reduced the cost of conducting labour market assessments.
  • Reviewing the labour market reports by MOLSA and the ILO is very important when assessing the breadth, scope and macroeconomic dynamics of the labour market.

Analysing the labour market:

  • Analysis facilitated by previous experience of coordinating stakeholders to develop competency-based job profiles (trained manpower available).
  • Enabling environment created by strong operational presence of NGOs, well-established relations and commitment among various development actors, TVETs, local government, etc.
  • Some TVET colleges (Almaz Bohem and Mehalmeda TVET in North Shewa) have introduced new agricultural courses in animal husbandry, since such training was not previously provided due to lack of labour market analysis.


  • Undertake a written needs assessment that includes a market analysis of the specific employment potential for graduates (occupational demand).
  • Consider using other methods as well, such as labour market signalling, tracer studies, the construction of a job opportunity index and sector studies.
  • To identify available jobs, there should be a population census and gender disaggregate labour statistics should be maintained at all levels.
  • The labour market analysis should be conducted at least every 3-4 years.

Project data sheet NED


Market-driven good quality agricultural training changes the life of 1200 unemployed youth in rural Ethiopia. And that is only the beginning. With improved quality of vocational education more trainees will increase their agricultural production in the future.

Short facts
Sector: Agriculture
Lead partner: Nurture Education and Development (NED)
Overall budget for the project: € 392.447
Learn4Work contribution: € 133.432
Partner contribution: € 259.015
Implementation period: January 2014- December 2016

Youth Unemployment

In Ethiopia about 85% of the population is involved in agriculture. Nevertheless the worrisome food security situation in the country often dominates the international news. There clearly is a lot to be improved to take full advantage of the potential of the agricultural production in the country. Especially the youth, who are often unemployed, need a sustainable income and stable food situation. That is why good quality agricultural vocational education is key. Good quality education includes also responsive to the local agricultural labour market. Only once they are well educated with useful agricultural skills, the vulnerable youth will be able to grow and harvest enough food for themselves and their families. Additionally, agricultural production will increase through new techniques and the availability of food at the local market will rise as well.

Skills Training

This project trains 1200 unemployed rural youth on sheep and goat fattening, poultry, vegetable and fruit production. The project also links public and private institutions from both Ethiopia as well as the Netherlands to jointly strengthen the agricultural vocational education in the region.

Private Sector

Involving the private sector is important. They can specify exactly what kind of personnel they need, what they should know or what kind of skills are needed. Together with the schools the private sector partners analyse the job market, develop ‘job profiles’, state the competencies and skills needed and develop the curricula. In addition they offer apprenticeships. Here students can learn on the work floor and gain practical work experience. Through microcredit young entrepreneurs are also encouraged to start their own agricultural business.
A market-driven, good quality vocational skills training can be life-changing for vulnerable and unemployed youth. This projects unites schools, micro finance institutions, businesses and community organisations from Ethiopia and the Netherlands to enable this positive change.

Public Private Partnership

Nurture Education and Development is an NGO working on different development endeavours including quality improvement of technical and vocational education and training. The organisation is the lead partner of this project.

F-FARM PLC will be leading the needs assessment of the labour market and value chain together with the TVET institutions and NGOs. Based on this information they will develop three new agricultural courses, all useful and practical, aiming to rapidly increase in the production and income of the trainees.  The Dutch AOC Council will participate in the project through organising exchange visits of 32 Dutch and Ethiopian teachers. Through these exchanges the capacities of all teachers involved will be built as they share practical experiences, skills and knowledge as well as develop good quality training materials together.

Other Contributing Partners:

Almaz Boehm TVET College, Edukans Foundation, Wabe Children’s Aid and Training (WCAT), Facilitator for Change (FC), Ghuion Development Aid Organisation (GDAO).

Nurture Education and Development

PO Box 22056/1000
Addis Ababa
Email: woldegies[at]
Phone: +251911606085


Email: info[at]
Contact: Petri Hofland

Almaz Beohm TVET College

Website: –
Email: ayelefish[at]
Contact: Mr. Ayele Fisiha Habtie

Facilitating Farmers Access to Remunerative Market – F-FARM

Website: –
Email: terfesad[at]
Contact: Mr. Terfesa Dandana Gutema

Guhion Development Aid Organization – GDAO

Email: info[at]
Contact: Mr Yeshiwas Bekele

Wabe Children’s Aid and Training – WCAT

Email: negashmestika[at]
Contact: Mr. Mestika Negash

The AOC Council

Email: info[at]
Contact: Mrs. Hilda Weges

Facilitator for Change – FC

Email: fce[at]
Contact: Mr Gelaye Hailu