Gender Equality & Social Inclusion (GESI) in Dual VET in Development Cooperation

GESI in Dual VET n Development Cooperation

How can development cooperation foster GESI and dual VET so that women and other disadvantaged groups benefit from better employment and business opportunities and higher incomes? Who are the disadvantaged groups and which barriers are often overseen in dual VET where training is systematically delivered in two learning venues? How can we ensure that GESI is adequately addressed and covers the complex, intercorrelated realities and multiple disadvantages of these groups in (dual) VET and the labour market?

Overall Context

Experiences and learnings in partner countries of development cooperation are rich and diverse. There is a general understanding that in VET and labour markets, women and other disadvantaged groups face several specific barriers. These are highlighted e.g. in SDC 2020: Understanding and analysing VET systems – An introduction or ILO 2021: The future of diversity. The graph below illustrates that these barriers manifest themselves at different levels along the whole VET process including labour market access and retention. As indicated by the red arrows, these barriers can lead to lower access and graduation rates, and fewer employment opportunities.

Graph 1: Barriers towards inclusive VET (adapted from ILO, 2021: The future of diversity)

Graph 1: Barriers towards inclusive VET (adapted from ILO, 2021: The future of diversity)

  • Before training – access: Access barriers to VET can include policy or regulatory barriers, such as required school certificates, language of instruction, restrictions in physical access (distance, lack of ramps etc.), or costs etc. In many countries, there are specific social norms at play such as attitudes or stereotypes that shape perception of society and training providers about what women and disadvantaged groups prefer as training choices and what they are capable of. This has led to less VET offers for girls and disadvantaged groups and hence lower enrolment rates. And if they exist, these VET offers are often less resourced and face lower status than typical male trades (Smith, 2021: The expansion and contraction of the apprenticeship system in Australia or Levasseur, 2016: Jack (and Jill?) of All Trades – A Canadian Case Study of Equity in Apprenticeship Supports).
  • During Training – delivery and asse Barriers during the training can include how training is delivered (standardized delivery) in the learning venues (vocational school/centre or enterprise). It might also be that the specific needs of learners, like timings, necessary workplace adjustments or lack of awareness and sensitization of staff in the learning venues are not considered. These barriers potentially result in higher dropout rates during the training and assessments (UNESCO-UNEVOC, 2019: TVET for disadvantaged youth).
  • After Training – placement: Due to dominant stereotypes and the lack of targeted and needs-based career guidance, labour market insertion and retention manifest additional potential barriers for women and other disadvantaged groups leading to lower labour market outcomes such as higher unemployment, lower income and less career opportunities and/or lower returns on investments (ROI) over their working life cycle (ILO, 2020: The gender divide in skills development: Progress, challenges and policy options for empowering women).

DC dVET BarCamp & Further Resources: How can GESI be addressed in development cooperation?

During the 1st DC dVET BarCamp on “GESI in dual VET in Development Cooperation – Getting Beyond Indicators” some of the following aspects were highlighted:

  • Enabling policies and a regulatory environment for inclusive VET and targeted active labour market measures for disadvantaged groups are critical pre-conditions for mainstreaming GESI in VET and labour markets.
  • Interventions must take a perspective of diversity, considering and acknowledging the high levels of diversity in the population – as opposed to assuming that there is a standard ‘normal’, towards which disadvantaged groups show deficits which they should overcome through support measures (ILO, 2021: The future of diversity).
  • At the operational level, it is important that VET schools and training companies are incentivized, capacitated and willing to embrace diversity and make adequate resource allocations for adaptation and special support measures in both learning venues.
  • Dual VET, despite the various advantages (see DC dVET Topics & Resources) might also intensify certain barriers for certain groups if policies or legal instruments are not available or not sufficiently implemented at the learning venues (see graph 2 below).
Graph 2: Addressing GESI with various measures for access and participation at policy and training level (own graph)

Graph 2: Addressing GESI with various measures for access and participation at policy and training level (own graph)

For more in-depth information on the keynote by Dr. Sandra Rothboeck and discussions during the exchange sessions please consult the following resources:

Gender & Social Inclusion in dual VET in Development Cooperation – Getting beyond Indicators, Keynote by Dr. Sandra Rothboeck

Further resources on overall concepts on GESI in dual VET: