Canada and Canadian community colleges building skilled workforces in developing countries

May 31, 2012 - Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced Canada's support for a new Education for Employment (EFE) initiative to meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce in developing countries. Working with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), this initiative will provide further support to build a country's institutional capacity to fill the need to hire trained employees as their economies grow. Minister Oda announced a new initiative for the Andean region in addition to an extension to an existing EFE initiative in Africa, based on significant results it already achieved.

"Sustainable economic growth is the most effective way to achieve poverty reduction because it provides gainful employment opportunities and increases incomes that result in stronger families, improved communities, and a better future for their countries. During this time of global economic restraint, developing and emerging countries will see their economies grow faster than in many industrialized countries," said Minister Oda. "The increased demand for a skilled workforce must be met locally and Canada is intent on helping developing countries build their capacity so their own people can fill future employment opportunities. Together, with ACCC, we have built a unique model that engages public and private partners in education and training institutions, a model that will meet the needs of local employers."

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has developed EFE initiatives in partnership with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) in Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

The Education for Employment initiative in Africa began in September 2008 in Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania, and has already achieved significant results in all three countries. With CIDA's support, this project has developed 56 technical and professional training programs and 21 entrepreneurial modules, and trained 514 trainers and 105 academic administrators. With the engagement of the private sector and educational institutions, the program has created networks connecting employers, educators and government. The Government of Canada's contribution, through CIDA, is $20 million from 2008 to 2012. Today, Minister Oda announced an extension for an additional $2.8 million over 9 months from October 2012 to June 2013.

"When training and market needs come together, then we can achieve outcomes that result in stronger enterprises and more employment, which really drives economic growth. Canada's colleges and institutions have helped to build our own economy to become one of the strongest globally. The ACCC will continue to be a partner with CIDA to effectively address poverty reduction in developing countries," concluded Minister Oda.

The Minister also announced a new EFE initiative for the Andean region that will help establish a network of institutional partners, increasing institutional capacity and creating opportunities for people in the region. The Government of Canada's contribution through CIDA is $19.6 million over 5 years from 2012 to 2017.

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For more information, media should contact:

Justin Broekema
Press Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone: 819-953-6238
Email: justin.broekema@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone: 819-953-6534
Email: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Today's announcements are the new Andean Regional Education for Employment Initiative and an extension to the African Education for Employment Initiative. These initiatives are part of the current Education for Employment program at CIDA, which recognizes the important role of Canadian colleges and institutes in transferring successful elements of the Canadian model of demand-driven technical and vocational education and training (TVET) to institutions in developing countries.

The Education for Employment in Africa aims to support private sector development through workforce training and micro-enterprise support in sectors of the economy where there is a lack of qualified workers and entrepreneurs. The goal of this initiative is to help reduce poverty by supporting private sector development. The program brings together the needs of businesses for stability and the creation and maintenance of sustainable jobs, and the necessary improvements in continuing education for the labour force. The program is already delivering significant results in the three countries. The Government of Canada's contribution, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), is $20 million from 2008 to 2012 and the extension is for an additional $2.8 million over 9 months from October 2012 to June 2013.

The Andean Regional Education for Employment Initiative will work with national and regional governments, employers, unions and other employment agencies and educational institutions to modernize the delivery of vocational training, and it will help to establish a regional network of institutional partners. The Government of Canada's contribution through CIDA is $19.6 million over 5 years from 2012 to 2017.

Current CIDA funded initiatives with ACCC also include the CARICOM Education for Employment which aims to strengthen Caribbean institutional capacity to implement and promote occupational standards, workforce certification, and demand-driven technical and vocational education and training (TVET). The increase in institutional capacity will help create meaningful employment for TVET graduates and skilled workers in the region. The project also improves access to pertinent labour market information so that technical and vocational courses are better aligned with employers' needs. Under the auspices of the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, Caribbean institutions collaborate with private sector representatives in the region as well as with relevant Canadian organizations to benefit from Canada's experience in developing TVET programming and a more decentralized and entrepreneurial approach to college management. The Government of Canada's contribution through CIDA is $19.6 million over 5 years from 2011 to 2016.