In 2020, the British Council’s first VET Toolbox intervention in Latin America was delivered, focussing on the revitalisation of the sectoral roundtables (similar to Sector Skills Councils in the UK) in Colombia at the request of the National Training Service (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje – SENA).

A UK-based consultant worked in partnership with a local consultant in Colombia focussing on the following three sectors, which were identified in consultation with SENA: agriculture, creative economy and industry 4.0. The collaboration brought about the development of an Action Plan and multiple guidance documents, developed in conjunction with key stakeholders to capitalise on the knowledge transfer and deliver targeted enhancements to the methodologies used to build employer engagement in VET through the roundtables.

Travel restrictions brought about by the global pandemic necessitated a new approach and this intervention became the first British Council coordinated VET Toolbox project that was conducted entirely remotely, which didn’t impact the participants’ high satisfaction rate. The use of video conferencing technology - with live English-Spanish translation - was critical to the success of the project which engaged SENA representatives in 16 online workshops and three focus group discussions. 66 organisations from government, private sector and academia took part in the intervention. 

The post-implementation interviews conducted six months after the intervention invited project stakeholders to reflect on the outcomes and sustainability of the support they received and of the post-implementation actions they undertook after the VET Toolbox intervention. The interviews provided evidence that the project impacted the implementation of related VET reforms through capacity building stakeholders in SENA and through the co-development and promotion of tools and the methodology to facilitate sectoral roundtables. SENA has now actively applied the same methodology to other sectors in addition to the three that were piloted during VET Toolbox intervention.