Through VET Toolbox, the British Council worked with the Ministry of Labour in Malawi to contribute to building a more inclusive, demand-driven TVET sector, and to help bridge training needs across the country’s informal sector. 

Targeted training to make TVET more inclusive 

Malawi’s TVET sector faces numerous challenges when it comes to catering for students with disabilities, including limited funding and resources at the institution level, and a lack of teacher training approaches and tools that meet the needs of people with disabilities at the system level. 

To fill this gap, the British Council worked with stakeholders across all levels of the TVET sector to develop a new professional training programme, aimed at equipping teachers with the skills to bring inclusive pedagogy into the classroom. 

An initial workshop gave key stakeholders the chance to discuss challenges related to inclusive education, identify training needs and provide input on the focus of the new programme. 

Next, a phased pilot in three regions provided key learning and feedback during programme and resource development. By integrating participants from the first phase of the pilot as trainers in the subsequent phases, it also supported future delivery of the programme by building a cohort of teachers already trained in inclusive pedagogy.

The training has change participants’ mindsets in relation to how they approach disability, by giving them new approaches around inclusive education and how to adapt the learning process to different needs. They are also bringing extra value to their institutions by engaging their managers in ways to make the learning environment more inclusive and how to attract more learners with disabilities.   

Bridging training needs across the informal sector

While Malawi’s informal sector accounts for a large proportion of the country’s employment, there are varying levels of skills among artisans, and enterprises often lack the skills to maximise their profit and grow their business. 

To address this skills gap, the British Council developed a new capacity building programme to support artisans and the growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

After an initial training needs analysis to identify skill levels across the informal sector, a new toolkit was developed to support curriculum writers and informal sector specialists in developing learning materials for artisans and enterprises.

A range of TVET stakeholders have already received training on the new toolkit, and thanks to the adaptability of the model, there is now the possibility to scale it across other sectors in Malawi.

Improving employer engagement

Through a mentoring partnership facilitated by the British Council, Edinburgh College in the UK has supported four TVET colleges in Malawi to make their offer more relevant to private sector needs. 

The partnership has helped training providers build their capacity to deliver work-placement and employer engagement activities, as well as gaining new strategies for co-curricular design and embedding employability skills throughout the curriculum. 

On the impact of VET Toolbox work in Malawi, Aubrey Matemba, Director of Technical and Vocational Training in the Ministry of Labour, said: ‘As a Ministry, we appreciate the support of VET Toolbox, the British Council and all partners involved. The Government of Malawi, through Vision Malawi 2063 (a blueprint for Government Agenda), has prioritised Human Capital Development as an essential enabler for realising Malawi’s development goals. Moving forward, the Ministry will attempt to build on the achievements of VET Toolbox by spreading lessons learned to all institutions in the sector. Through these initiatives, we will continue to build a strong TEVET sector which provides a competitive and skilled workforce for the nation.’

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