Vocational training in Burkina Faso
Equipping youth with skills so they can enter the workforce
Unemployment is a big concern among the population of young people in Burkina Faso. While the overall unemployment rate is 4 per cent, among youth age 15 to 24 the unemployment rate is 6.5 per cent. Preparing young people for the workforce while they are still in the Compassion Sponsorship Program is a top priority of frontline church partners.
Unfortunately, the general education system in Burkina Faso is not preparing enough graduates for the workforce. There is a mismatch between the graduates’ skills and the employers’ needs. Sadly, 23 per cent of those who graduate from the education system are jobless because there just aren’t enough jobs for the demand. In fact, there are about 273 applicants for each civil service job available. This situation is the cause of worry among many youths in the program. The fear of joining the already large number of unemployed youths is gradually haunting them as they are close to exiting the program.
Equipping youth with vocational skills is one of the solutions to bridge the gap between the skills needed in the community and the available jobs. Church partners in Bobo East, Bobbo West and Bobo North areas conducted a survey to assess interest in vocational careers among their youth beneficiaries. Most young people demonstrated an eagerness to pursue hands-on learning to widen their skills and increase their chances of employment. However, accessing vocational training for the beneficiaries is a challenge because of the low incomes of their caregivers. Most caregivers depend on subsistence farming and petty trading, and they simply cannot afford vocational training for their children. There are few vocational training schools, and many would require youth to travel long distances or to move away.
Compassion’s church partners in Burkina Faso wanted to help 400 young people with vocational training in programs such as hairdressing, sewing, electrical technician, welding, carpentry, air conditioning, plumbing, computer maintenance and auto mechanics. But the sheer number of young people put the cost far above what our church partners could afford. With no vocational skills training young people graduating from the Compassion program would end up taking low-paying, temporary and potentially risky jobs just to get by.
Compassion Burkina Faso and its church partners are selecting 400 youth to receive vocational skills training. The selected young people must demonstrate an interest in acquiring vocational skills, be available for the training and show their dedication by regularly attending activities at their Compassion centres.
With the help of partnership facilitators, a committee was set up to facilitate the implementation of this intervention. Frontline church partners met with caregivers and potential beneficiaries to discuss the parameters of the program and responsibilities of the students. Students and parents were also briefed on what they need to do to help youth succeed with their training.
The committee that facilitates vocational training programs visited several training centres with different specialties. In the end, the committee chose eight host training schools. Youth in this program will receive training in floor tiling, hairdressing, electrical, sewing, solar energy, computer science, masonry, joinery, photography and videography, plumbing, auto mechanics, motorcycle mechanics and animal breeding.
Compassion Burkina Faso staff planned a career fair in partnership with vocational training centres. Youth attended the fair and listened to presentations about different trades to help them decide on a career to pursue. The selected 400 youth will attend three months of vocational training between July and September 2022. This intervention will cover the cost of tuition, housing, transportation and training materials for the students. At the end of the training, young people will attend a closing/graduation ceremony to celebrate their success.
Selecting the schools: Committee members visited several training centres before selecting eight that would be used during this intervention. The committee signed contracts with each of the selected schools.
Career fair: Compassion staff worked with vocational training centres to organize a career fair for the selected students. The students were able to learn about the different skills and trades before making their final decisions on which training courses they’d like to take.
Hope for the future: Prior to starting their training programs, the students attended the career fair and were excited about their courses and their futures.
Your Gift Provides...
Your support will cover the costs of 400 youth to attend a vocational training program of their choice:
• 3-month vocational training program at one of eight different training centres in the following areas: floor tiling, hairdressing, electrical, sewing, solar energy, computer science, masonry, joinery, photography and videography, plumbing, auto mechanics, motorcycle mechanics and animal breeding
• Training materials
• Food for trainees
• Closing ceremony
• Administrative fees
ReportThank you for your generosity
Because of you, Compassion is helping 400 youth in the Bobo East, Bobo West, Bobo and Bobo North areas in Burkina Faso to pursue vocational training.
Most of the youth selected for this intervention are school dropouts and are not in a position to apply for salaried positions or jobs that require a high school diploma. With vocational training, these young people will have the skills they need to compete in the workforce for well-paid jobs or to start their own businesses. This opportunity has already generated a feeling of satisfaction among the young people.
This intervention has also brought relief to these beneficiaries’ caregivers. Because of their precarious financial situation, paying for their children’s vocational training was out of reach. Knowing that such training will likely open doors for employment for their children leaves the parents feeling both relieved and hopeful that they will be able to take care of themselves and support their families.
This intervention has also strengthened the capacity of Compassion centres in Burkina Faso to serve youth in their program. It is helping to fight against unemployment, which often leads to increases of vices such as idleness, crime, insecurity, prostitution and abuse of alcohol and drugs in their communities. Lacking purpose, some unemployed Burkinabe youth join rebel armies and bring destruction to their country. Instead, armed with needed skills, these young people will be able to contribute to their communities in a positive way.
This vocational training will help beneficiary youth secure meaningful, well-paid employment and escape poverty. As leaders with a Christian foundation, they will change lives and be a positive force in their nation. Because of you, the next generation in Burkina Faso will be transformed. Thank you for bringing hope to an entire community in Jesus’ name!