Ethiopia’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector has made significant strides, over the last 10 years, in developing skilled, specialised and competent workers who are now contributing to the country’s economic and social development. Australia Awards alumnus, Sahleselassie Teka – a strong TVET champion – is contributing to national and regional reform which is making major strides in improving livelihoods and sustainably reducing poverty.
Sahleselassie is a Project Manager for a World Bank project rolling out at the Federal TVET Institute in Ethiopia. He is responsible overall for leading and managing the East Africa Skill for Transformation and Regional Integration (EASTRIP) project designed to develop the skills and capacity of graduates and improve their chances of gaining meaningful employment. In doing so, the project supports the Federal TVET Institute and EASTRIP member countries, including Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania.
“Strengthening TVET is critical to a country’s economy and workforce. It also positions graduates to compete in international labour markets and increases their chances of securing an income,” says Sahleselassie. “Equipping Ethiopia’s TVET systems with qualified teachers and quality training materials is essential for the sector’s success.”
Sahleselassie completed an Australia Leadership Awards Fellowship in Enhancing TVET Reform through Victoria’s Chisholm Institute, which equipped him with strategic and operational TVET skills. While studying in Australia, Sahleselassie learned a great deal about labour market driven TVET. He also learned how Australia encourages government, private sector and other stakeholders to work in partnership for efficient and effective implementation of TVET.
Armed with his new knowledge and skills, Sahleselassie returned home and began reforming the national and regional state TVET systems. One reform is equipping TVET institutes with modern training facilities and developing an outcome-based training program that is driven by what the labour market needs. Sahleselassie worked with colleagues from the TVET Regional State Bureau Head and the State Minister from the Federal Government Ministry of Education to introduce a national and regional-level platform that would lead to provision of relevant practical skills for development.
“My experience in Australia has been invaluable in my work developing a TVET system for Ethiopia that is adaptable and effective at national and regional state levels. The new framework and institutional set up, which involves all stakeholders in the TVET training process, will give the youth and marginalised groups across Ethiopia more access to TVET training,” says Sahleselassie. “We’ve worked with industries to develop occupational standards for the training.”
Introducing a demand-driven training system has narrowed the gap between the skills of available trainees and what the labour market needs, resulting in more than 70 per cent of trainees joining the labour market after graduating.
Manufacturing industries now recruit many TVET graduates as apprentices or after they graduate. Small and medium-sized business enterprises are also supporting new TVET graduates in establishing businesses. This has resulted in the transfer of 6,434 technologies in manufacturing and agriculture to farmers and small and middle enterprises over the last ten years.
Collaboration was key in reforming the TVET sector, and Sahleselassie worked with other partners and institutions across the East Africa region. These include the World Bank, Ethiopian Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Inter-University Council for East Africa and private industries.
Sahleselassie also leads the East Africa Skill for Transformation and Regional Integration project which is helping member countries produce a competent workforce to reduce youth unemployment and help people rise above the poverty line. The project is expected to facilitate East African regional integration through a harmonised qualification framework that will allow skilled TVET graduates to access employment opportunities in different East African countries.
“My studies and the networks I established while in Australia strengthened my strategic leadership skills and are backing my work in helping to make real changes in TVET reform and implementation in Ethiopia and regional states,” says Sahleselassie.
Photo Credit: Sahleselassie Teka during a visit to a TVET plant