Economic growth that creates employment is important for low and middle income countries. A future perspective with decent work and fair income for especially youth and women is essential for poverty reduction, food security and sustainable economic development. Ambition of TNO is to create 50,000 sustainable jobs for youth and women in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. This impact contributes to SDG 8 - promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Empowering youth and women

Due to the rising population in sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that millions of young people are entering the job market every year. The unemployment rates can run up to 20% for youth below 30 years, dependent per country (ILO, 2020). Currently, the COVID pandemic has profoundly affected labor productivity and employment. Efforts are needed to expand labour markets and to empower youth and women by enhancing their education and skills, and providing them with greater market, social, and decision-making power.

TNO has developed 2 innovations which can be used in projects facilitating employment and business creation in Africa.

1. Skills assessment and matching

TNO is active as partner in several regional labor market development programs (e.g. House of Skills) which are aiming a systems change towards a new skills based labor market in a public-private ecosystem. In this collaboration, we developed a skills ontology and subsequent skills assessment with matching software. This software organizes various skills into categories based on how good a candidate is at each skill based on this career suggestions are given. Moreover the awareness on skills and competencies of candidates that were not discovered yet, is stimulated thus enhancing self-efficacy, and better targeted job training can be implemented for candidates. On the employer site the best suitable/trainable candidates can be found, securing a more sustainable job placement.

2. Empowerment: skills training

TNO has developed a comprehensive and evidence based training method focusing on enhancing work motivation and job search and entrepreneurial skills. Research has shown that two elements of the method were found to predict successful (re-)entering the labour market: techniques that enhance self-efficacy and anticipating perceived obstacles and inoculation against possible setbacks thereby enhancing problem solving skills. This training has already been successfully implemented in South Africa in program called ‘Qhubekela Phambili' (Moving Forward).

TNO innovates in close collaboration with Dutch and local partners. TNO acts as knowledge partner in public-private partnerships and we develop new products, tools and approaches. In close collaborations with partners in the field we implement integrated sets of solutions.

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