Country profiles

Our current call is open to applications from UK organisations to partner with selected organisations in Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan. 

Please note the overseas organisational profiles will not be provided at this stage. 

The British Council will assess applications and match successful UK and overseas organisations. Project development grants of approximately £2000 will be available for successful UK organisations to visit their partner organisation and develop their project idea.  



The largest Arab country, Egypt has a population of 85 million people, half of whom are under 24, and the third largest economy in the Arab world. Although Egypt’s labour force amounts to 29.6 million, the unemployment rate in mid-2016 reached 12.5%, with the highest rates witnessed amongst women and young people. It would appear that a mismatch between the outputs of the education system and the needs of the labour market are contributing to both these high levels of unemployment as well as labour market inefficiencies.

Recent political upheaval has provided both opportunities and challenges for Egypt’s democratic, economic and social progress. While the revolution was characterised by a degree of uncertainty and instability, the new government has nevertheless implemented a number of economic and social reforms, including the introduction of policy changes within the education and employment sectors. However, while these reforms have emphasised social equality and youth empowerment, tackling high levels of youth unemployment remains an urgent priority and, indeed, features prominently in the prevailing political agenda. For example, the Egyptian government organised a successful and high profile international economic development conference in March 2015, an event which attracted a large number of domestic and foreign investors. During the conference, plans for a number of projects were unveiled, many of which are intended to lead to new job prospects in a range of sectors, including tourism, construction, logistics, energy, manufacturing and retail, within the next 15 years. Moreover, these projects have been accompanied by a new, more favourable investment law. If these projects materialise, they should lead to a sharpened focus nation-wide on education and training, and vocational education in particular, in order to prepare young people for these opportunities. 

As part of British Council Egypt’s on-going commitment to skills development across the country, three international skills partnership are available for funding. There are three distinct opportunities in Egypt, with consortia applications welcome across the following areas:

  1. The first opportunity will focus on the development of curriculum and quality assurance processes for a large, leading technical training institution
  2. The second partnership will entail supporting our government partner to work with colleges to prepare young people to compete in WorldSkills 2017
  3. The third partnership will support the piloting of apprenticeship models for young learners (aged 16 – 21) who are making the transition from learning to work. This will require examining, from a provider’s perspective, the pertinent policy and practice issues. 

 Read more about our work in Egypt.


The fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia consists of around 17,000 islands and is rich in natural resources. Largely due to growth in the business and industry sectors, Indonesia is emerging as a confident middle-income country and is now the largest economy in South-East Asia. As the economy continues to progress, the government has recognised a need to focus on preparing the entry-level workforce with the skills set required by employers; however, as there is much still to be achieved in relation to poverty reduction and as the numbers of young people entering the workforce each year are very high, policy-makers have also been focus on minimising the economic inequalities between provinces through improvements to infrastructure and technology. 

Indonesia is currently undergoing a transition phase, transforming into a knowledge-based economy in order to inspire increased competitiveness, growth and efficiency. As the Indonesian skills sector is lacking yet crucial to this goal, the government is thus investing in the development of the country’s education and training system. The goal is to transform the Indonesian TVET model into one that provides demand-driven and practice-oriented programmes in order to improve the employability of students and boost participation in life-long learning across the population. 

As part of British Council Indonesia’s on-going commitment to skills development across the country, two international skills partnership are available for funding. 


Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy, Nigeria also has a relatively lengthy history in vocational education provision. In the 1960s, the General Trade Schools, institutions which focused on vocational education, were established across the country while, in the 1980s, the Nigerian government introduced a nation-wide vocational and technical curriculum, a policy which was accompanied by the creation of tertiary-level vocational and technical schools. Further reforms of the vocational education sector followed in 1991 and 2004, and enrolment figures in primary and secondary education institutions have increased significantly in recent years.

Nevertheless, Nigeria faces a number of challenges. For instance, reported youth unemployment rate currently exceeds 50% yet, despite rising pressure for students to gain knowledge and skills to enhance their employability, a reluctance to pursue vocational education persists due to negative perceptions regarding the prestige of this path of study. Moreover, the Nigerian skills sector must also tackle the relatively low level of market-driven consideration applied to the selection of courses offered by institutions, the lack of high-quality tools required to implement recently introduced curricula, the insufficient numbers of qualified teachers and the lack of investment in, and awareness of, vocational education as a means of economic empowerment. 

As part of British Council Nigeria’s commitment to skills development across the country, three international skills partnership are available for funding. The three partnerships will focus on supporting the creation of Sector Skills Councils in the following fields: construction, retail and the creative industries. In addition to Sector Skills Councils applying, we would also encourage applications from consortia of organisations with experience in these areas and who can demonstrate evidence that they have previously worked directly with employers to create change at a regional/national level. In your application, please indicate in which of the three areas (construction, retail or the creative industries) you are interested and provide evidence of relevant experience.


South Asia’s second-largest economy, Pakistan represents around 15% of the region’s GDP and is the 27th largest economy in the world by purchasing power. The government’s ‘2020 Vision’ is aimed towards tackling a number of challenges hampering further economic growth, such as political instability, the threats posed by religious militants, insufficient infrastructure and difficulties related to energy provision. However, problems are posed by Pakistan’s large youth population; around 40 million young people are of working age yet a significant proportion are unable to find work and lack the skills required to create their own jobs. 

The Pakistani TVET system faces a number of challenges, largely related to the quality of its outputs and the relevance of its provisions but also linked to the relatively limited number of training institutions in the country. More positively, the government is currently focusing investment into the energy sectors and TVET education through an array of public-private initiatives as well as introducing reforms to increase nationwide access to technology and develop the service sector. Moreover, policy-makers have recently initiated a series of developments in an attempt to embed entrepreneurship within vocational education in the hope that this will better facilitate the capacity of young people to forge their own businesses and contribute to Pakistan’s economic development. 

As part of the British Council Pakistan’s on-going commitment to skills development across the country, two international skills partnerships are available for funding. Both these partnerships will concentrate on building the organisational capacity of the partner colleges/TVET institutions to deliver education for students that meets 21st century skills needs. Specific themes will include: developing performance management systems for teachers; developing a Continuing Professional Development system; and overarching organisational development, with a focus on leadership and governance.

 Read more about our work in Pakistan