ICQN-TVSD Ministerial Conference on Skills and Competencies Acquisition

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 to Thursday, October 8, 2015
Serena Hotel, Kigali

Promoting investment in skills and competencies acquisition by trainers and entrepreneurs in African countries

The Kigali Conference is a follow-up to the Abidjan Conference on “Youth Employment in Africa” held in July 2014. The latter brought together ministers and/or their representatives from 28 countries within the framework of the Inter-Country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN-TVSD).

On that occasion, the participants decided to implement a three-year plan of action (2014-2017) that is articulated around three priority themes/areas:

  • Analyzing and operationalizing inter-country experiences and mechanisms for job creation that target more particularly the youth  ;
  • Promoting investment in countries to support the acquisition of skills and competencies by trainers and entrepreneurs;
  • Promoting the implementation of the education – training continuum.

The Rwandan Minister for TVET offered to organize in 2015 an Inter-country conference on the following theme: "Promoting investment in skills and competencies acquisition by trainers and entrepreneurs in African countries - What skills/competencies and what training to promote?”Positioning of the theme of the conference

The theme of the 2015 Kigali Conference, as defined by the July 2014 ICQN-TVSD Ministerial Conference, is to primarily focus on trainers and entrepreneurs involved in the training of youth both in and out of the formal technical and vocational system.

Therefore, and on the one hand, the Conference should focus on the training of trainers in both public and private training centers that are faced with the task of imparting skills and competencies needed by their training staff to adapt to the evolving trades and professions as they train the youth. This entails that these centers should ensure that their training staff develop a very close relationship with enterprises in both the formal and informal sectors and be aware of the new realities in the labor market.  This also means that they may have to resort to hiring trainers directly from enterprises, more specifically in areas where qualified trainers are missing. The recourse to this new type of trainer seems to be the way of the future as the training models that are emerging tend to favor “sandwich courses”, meaning a system of training that entails alternating between a training center and a private or public enterprise, over residential training.

On the other hand, the Conference should also focus on the training of entrepreneurs. Based on the 25 national reports submitted by the ICQN/TVSD countries during the July 2014 Ministerial Conference, all of them are confronted with a situation whereby the vast majority of the youth entering the labor market lacks appropriate qualification and learns most of the skills and competencies on the job. Those who impart these skills and competencies are the entrepreneurs who hire the youth. Given that these entrepreneurs are doing the on-the-job training, it is very important to support them in their task by ensuring that their competencies to impart the training are strengthened through acquisition of pedagogical skills. This will ultimately benefit the youth and the skills and know-how of the entrepreneurs themselves. In a few countries, the training of entrepreneurs will necessarily entail the strengthening of the training competencies of artisans as they are masters within traditional apprenticeship or the renovated/modernized traditional apprenticeship.

Modalities for in-depth exploration of the theme

In line with the modus operandi adopted by the ICQN-TVSD, the Conference will call on countries to contribute to the discussions on the theme by reporting on the way they invest in the training of trainers and entrepreneurs and eventually on the experiences in their own contexts that have allowed them to succeed in this investment.

Countries will be asked to respond to a homogeneous questionnaire in describing and analyzing he following issues/points: 

  • Their own approaches and definition of policies and practices related to one of the two focus areas of the theme (training of trainers and training of entrepreneurs) or how they perceive the assumptions made by the theme of the Conference.
  • The priority they attribute to the investment in the training of trainers and training of entrepreneurs
  • The main challenges they are facing after having taken stock of the strengths and weaknesses of training of trainers and training of entrepreneurs
  • The training mechanisms/modalities and the progression system put in place that have enabled them to achieve the expected results. In so doing, they should provide one or two key strategic experiences emanating from their national contexts
  • The conditions under which these training mechanisms/modalities could be constitutive elements of a training policy that strengthens the capabilities of training mechanisms/systems both in the formal and informal sectors.

A methodological guide will define the contribution modalities of each country as regards the in-depth exploration of the given thematic area as well as the issues of an inter-country cooperation that will ensure that countries pool together their most effective and relevant mechanisms and training courses.

The national contributions will provide the basis for a compendium of country case studies. The compendium will provide a typological analysis as it relates to the current evolution of the policies and strategies leading to the strengthening of the competencies of trainers and entrepreneurs. 

Objectives and expected outcomes of the Conference

They can be described as follows:

Main Objective

To create the most conducive conditions for young people undergoing training and/or professionalization to acquire the skills and competencies that they need to seamlessly integrate the employments or trades that contribute to the socio-economic development of their country.   

However, to attain such an objective, it is necessary that trainers and entrepreneurs who are in charge of training these young people acquire new pedagogical and professional competencies compatible with the evolution of the needs of the labor market. This implies that they be trained or retrained as to be able, to the extent possible, to anticipate the evolutions within the labor market. 

The Conference should therefore ensure that the participating countries are aware of and act towards making the training of trainers and entrepreneurs the cornerstone of reforms within enterprises and technical and vocational skills development (TVSD).

Specific Objectives

To motivate countries to prioritize investment in the training of trainers and entrepreneurs, the Kigali Conference should attain the following specific objectives:

  • It will evaluate and put a premium on country experiences that promote the continuous training of trainers and entrepreneurs
  • It will define the conditions and identify the efficacy and success factors of such experiences
  • It will propose cooperation and resource-pooling frameworks/modalities of experiences in order to facilitate ownership of the most relevant and appropriate among them by countries according to their own TVSD policies and strategies.
  • It will also propose and identify funding and pooling strategies for such an inter-country cooperation. 

Expected Results

Both the preparatory and implementation process of the Conference will lead to the following results:

  • Availability and access to all the studies/contributions submitted by countries
  • The development of a compendium of the most relevant and transferable experiences 
  • A comparative analysis of the contributions made by the countries that will highlight the main policy directions and approaches to practice that have been or will be implemented in order to make the training of trainers and entrepreneurs a strategic development axis for TVSD at both the national and inter-country levels;
  • A concrete proposal for inter-country cooperation in order to facilitate the pooling of tools and means.