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Introduction

The Employment Fund (EF) was established in 2008 as a result of a bi-lateral agreement between the Government of Nepal and the Government of Switzerland. HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal has been managing the Employment Fund Secretariat since its establishment. The objective of the fund was to impart skills training to youth who are unemployed mainly because they do not have proper education and skills demanded by the market. From 2008 to 2015, the fund imparted short-term, market-oriented technical skills training to almost 100,000 young people- mostly poor and disadvantaged youth, with a special focus on women rom disadvantaged backgrounds. As a result, up to year 2015, a total of almost 100,000 youth were trained with the additional support of Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom and The World Bank and among them 70% were gainfully employed.

Apart from its regular implementation, the Employment Fund also provided technical support to the Enhanced Vocational Education and Training (EVENT) Project which is managed by the Ministry of Education, Government of Nepal with its best practices, approaches, and joint monitoring system. 

After the devastating earthquake of 2015, the Ministry of Education, Government of Nepal requested the Government of Switzerland to continue support through Employment Fund Project towards 'Skills for Reconstruction' training that can facilitate for speedy reconstruction in rural area. The Employment Fund piloted the Skills for Reconstruction project immediate of earthquake in 2015 with the support of SDC and up-scaled intervention with the additional funding by SDC and DFID during 2016 to 2017. As of 2017, project has developed ~10000 (32% women) skilled workers in Mason and Carpentry in 10 of the earthquake affected districts. Moreover, the project has also piloted a retrofitting training in which 40 youths received 50 days builder’s training. 2,621 houses (1,370 during the training and 1,251 post training) have been constructed with the participation of training graduates by 2017.

Accordingly, considering the ongoing need of reconstruction, the Government of Nepal and Government of Switzerland extended the bilateral agreement of the second phase of Employment Fund called ‘Skills for Reconstruction’ (EF-SR) project from January 2018 to June 2020 to impart the skills to earthquake-affected people to enable them for rebuilding their houses or link them for the employment in the construction sector and to technically support earthquake-affected homeowners in Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga and Khotang to rebuild safe houses according to the rules and regulations of Government of Nepal.

In the year 2017, the Employment Fund/ HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal partnered with the Government of Nepal to implement the project Rural Enterprises and Remittances Project (RERP) "Samriddhi", a project executed by Government of Nepal (GoN) Ministry of Industry (MoI) and funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to provide Technical Assistance for implementing vocational and apprenticeship training. The project aims to train 30,000 (33% women) youth on vocational skills training from 16 districts (Bara, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Sindhuli, Okhaldhunga, Bhojpur, Khotang, Udaypur, Siraha, Saptari, Sunsari, Morang, Dhankuta and Tehrathum) under province number 1, 2 &3. The main objective of furnishing Technical Assistance from HELVETAS is to deliver the quality skill training to the economically poor and socially discriminated youths (16-40 years) following the CTEVT level one curricula and promote the gainful employment. The project is being implemented from January 2018 and ends by the end of 2021.

Path to Prosperity (Skills for very poor and discriminated youth) 

Youth in the age range of 18-40 years from the poorest and most vulnerable households in Nepal receive a technical and life skills training package which caters for their special needs and provides them with opportunities for gainful employment for better prospects in life.

Reaching out to youth with special needs

Path to Prosperity aims to provide access to economic opportunities for those individuals who often have the least opportunities in life due to their social and cultural background, their physical condition, social stigmata and/or poverty related disadvantages.

Literacy and numeracy training

Functional and needs-based literacy and numeracy skills are imparted to illiterates and out of school to help them take part in the technical skills training.

Needs-based facility support

To make our trainings accessible to the most vulnerable groups of society, accommodation, food and transport cost compensation and on-site child care can be offered based on individual needs assessment. A starter kit of occupation- related tools is provided to all graduates after training completion.

Life skills training

Since many trainees have faced difficult situations in their lives, social, interpersonal, cognitive and emotional coping skills as well as an orientation on reproductive health and HIV/AIDS is provided to all participants of the Path to Prosperity component.

Multiple income generation

Optional multi-skilling (one additional technical skills training) is provided. This provides the trainee with better opportunities to enhance the income after graduation with diversified work options.

Post-training support

Practical on-the-job training, counseling on employment possibilities, optional business skills training and linkages to financial services for graduates interested in self-employment facilitate Employment Fund’s graduates’ entry into the labour.

Micro- Enterprising for Job Creation (Skills for business establishment and creation of jobs for others)

Mature and business-minded youth aged 18-40 years receive a technical and business skills training package focusing on enterprise start-up and are expected to register a new business at the end of training. Additionally, they create new jobs, preferably for disadvantaged youth graduating from the Employment Fund’s second training component Path to Prosperity.

Career counseling and financial literacy training

Participants are guided in their career choices and take informed decisions about the skill training, which in turn ensures that participants feel motivated for the training. A package of basic financial literacy is provided to all trainees teaching them about saving schemes, investment, basic bookkeeping and other skills related to the financial operation of small enterprises.

Business motivation and preparation of business plan

The applicants receive insight on skills needed to run a business and they are informed about the challenges entrepreneurs can face during the establishment of enterprises. This provides them with a real image of what is required to be an entrepreneur. The trainees further receive support from experts to plan their businesses realistically.

Practical skills and exposure visits

Trainees receive basic technical skills training which is required to run their business. Trainees are familiarised with their future business environment by visiting businesses similar to their own future enterprise. By working on the job already during training, they gain practical skills and get to know the work from first-hand experience.

Post-training support

Once graduated, the entrepreneurs receive a starter kit of tools and support in the registration of their newly founded businesses, in establishing backward and forward linkages, and linkage to financial services and new technologies. They receive regular post-training support for six months. 

Target Groups

The target groups of both the program components are: unemployed youth aged between 18-40 years. The target groups are categorized in four categories as follows: Economically poor men from all caste/ethnicities not referred to under category C. Men from all caste/ethnicities not referred to under category C.

Category Path to Prosperity Micro enterprising for job creation
A Economically poor women from discriminate groups (Dalit, Widow, Disabled, ex-combatants, internally displaced, HIV/AIDS infected etc.) Women from discriminate groups (Dalit, Widow, Disabled, ex- combatants, internally displaced, HIV/AIDS infected etc.)
B Economically poor women from all caste/ethnicities not referred to under category A Women from all caste/ethnicities not referred to under category A
C Economically poor men from discriminated groups (Dalit, Janajati, Madeshi, Disabled, ex-combatants, internally displaced, HIV/AIDS infected etc.) Men from discriminated groups (Dalit, Janajati, Madeshi, Disabled, ex-combatants, internally displaced, HIV/AIDS infected etc.)
D Economically poor men from all caste/ethnicities not referred to under category C Men from all caste/ethnicities not referred to under category C
Remarks Poor is defined as per the categories defined by Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) of Government of Nepal as category A to C. In exceptional cases with non- PAF communities, the same poverty definitions will be applied. No economic poverty criterion is applied for this component. The applicants might be skilled or unskilled but not self-employed currently; normally who are ready to invest, who are willing to start their enterprises and can create job for others will be given the priority

How does it work?

The Employment Fund finances to more then 30 private sector T&Es for technical skills training and employment placement services. It has mainly adapted outcome based financing approach to its partner organizations (T&Es) and pays based neither on the outcome (i.e employment) nor for the activities (training). Similarly, it also supports for establishing enterprises initiated by graduates.