CEI has developed a recognized expertise in undertaking analytical pieces of work and providing policy advice to governments and international organisations. An example of such work was undertaken by CEI for the ILO and UNDP in Sudan. The challenges facing Sudan are enormous and one of the key issues is how to accelerate economic growth, and translate this into improved employment opportunities for the vast majority of the country’s population. After consultation with the government it was agreed that the key to moving forward is to develop a base-line of skill provision and also to develop a road-map for future interventions in the area of TVET. Against this background CEI was commissioned to help (a) analyze the results of a base-line study on skills and employment issues across Sudan and (b) facilitated the development of a TVET strategy for the next 10 years in order guide investments and future activities.
The base-line study helped policy makers understand the institutions, and processes for developing skills, as well as the main constraints facing young people to obtain skills in the formal and informal sectors. The base-line study also under took a survey of 144 micro and small enterprises that operate in Sudan. This helps understand the context in which skill development takes place, the characteristics of micro-enterprising supporting apprentices, the specific characteristics of master crafts persons and apprentices and also practices surrounding the apprenticeship process. Using the base-line study and the results from the survey CEI was able to work with government and stakeholders to develop a TVET strategy, along with an implementation plan. The TVET strategy provided a framework for facilitating structural shifts, ensuring that the TVET system responds to changing skill requirements in the economy and a more sustainable mechanism for supporting skills development within the informal economy.
The framework for the TVET also provides a means of enabling the government to coordinate existing provision and to establish a vision of where the sector is going over the next 10 years. The plan also identifies the key target for skills development, the principles underpinning the plan and priority areas for reform. This framework recognised that limited funds are available to support reform and the difficulties of engaging with an embryonic private sector.
An implementation plan was also developed with practical actions for overcoming the constraints identified by the TVET strategy. This consists of a number of steps and was based on the principles of trying to achieve small incremental gains. Once the strategy and plan had been confirmed by government it was disseminated widely at the decentralised levels. This helps ensure buy-in was achieved by the state governments and the embryonic private sector.