A young man in a workshop cutting wood and metal

British Council

Clients Partnership
2009 to 2015
Country Multiple

Through Skills for Employability we work to develop higher quality skills systems in vocational and higher technical education and training, professional education and enterprise skills training to meet industry needs and help young people prosper. Through the themes of skills and enterprise we foster international collaboration and support social and economic development, by encouraging closer links between education, employers and policy makers in the UK and worldwide.

Matching skills to market needs

National educational and training systems are supported to better respond to labour market demands and learner needs. Policy and decision makers in government are engaged to set the agenda at the highest level to address global skills challenges. Senior educationalists and employers are being provided with partnership and knowledge sharing opportunities to support skills development and promote innovation. Young people are being given new opportunities, higher aspirations and a global perspective. 

In Egypt, in partnership with Shell, more than 4,500 young people were trained in entrepreneurship and business skills, and more than 500 have set up their own businesses. The Egyptian Apprenticeship Initiative was launched, and 15 trainees successfully completed the first internationally benchmarked adult apprenticeship programme and have subsequently been employed. Two new employers have joined the initiative for its second phase, which includes 50 new trainees. Media promotion has reached over 20 million people. 

In China, two memorandums of understanding have been facilitated between the UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and two Chinese ministries. Partnerships have been orchestrated between 20 colleges in the UK and China, and public perception of vocational education has been enhanced through policy dialogue. 

In Vietnam, the development of a National Qualifications Framework and National Occupational Skills Standards and Sector Skill Council in Mining has been supported by UK skills agencies and UK further education colleges. 

In Yemen, the programme has been implemented in 13 institutions in seven major cities. Senior members of staff have received quality assurance training, enabling them to develop policies and procedures that have been implemented across all 13 institutions. The programme has led to a positive change in policy, and was the catalyst to the Ministry of Technical and Vocational Education issuing a Ministerial Resolution needed for establishing a quality assurance unit within each institute. An international partnership between Hoban Technical Institute and Dudley College enables students to take an active role in shaping their education, and to develop new skills to help boost their employment opportunities. The first student union in vocational education in Yemen was established at Hoban Technical Institute inspired by the input and recommendations of Dudley College.

In Uzbekistan, an enterprise programme reached all 1,200 colleges, with at least three teams of five young people participating in each college. A total of 18,000 young people and 1,200 teachers took part in the country-wide enterprise competition and enterprise training. Enterprise will now be embedded into the annual activity of all colleges in Uzbekistan. In the past year, more than 20,000 in 1,400 colleges took part in enterprise training and a competition supported and funded by the government. The winning project received seed funding to implement an innovative social enterprise project to provide alternative sources of energy in environmentally disadvantaged regions of Uzbekistan. 

In Romania, national occupational standards and relevant units of competency within the national qualifications were developed in agritourism and rural tourism, geared towards preparing young people for jobs across the whole sector. The units have been accredited and are being promoted by the Ministry of Education. 

In Ukraine, eight sets of national occupational standards have been developed in three pilot sectors: metal and mining, energy and digital journalism. New educational standards have also been devised and piloted in leading universities, in digital journalism, metallurgy and power generation. With the support of UK experts such as UKCES, Ofqual, Edexcel, the Federation of Awarding Bodies, understanding and capability has been built at all stages, from collecting labour market intelligence and developing national occupational standards to developing and implementing fit-for-purpose qualifications. 

In South Africa, a staff member of the Department of Higher Education and Training has been permanently delegated to co-ordinate activity under Skills for Employability, and there has been active involvement from the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority. A partnership agreement has been signed with the National Business Initiative, an organisation supported by over 100 businesses operating in South Africa.

In Libya, a tourism sector skills council was established, based on a scoping study of the Libyan tourism sector by the National Skills Academy.

In the UK, a series of technical education and skills seminars was hosted for senior government officials, policy makers, employers and employer organisations, donor agencies and senior education staff from overseas. Delegates were left better informed to be able to develop their own national solutions to the themes covered.


‘We are very glad that the British Council has taken a very important aspect of our young people’s development, such as enterprise training, forward in Uzbekistan. We regard enterprise development among young people to be very high in our agenda and are ready to support the British Council in future activities.'

Ravshan Tolaganov, International Relations Department, Centre for Specialised Secondary Education