Skip to main content

We work to empower people to take greater control of their own lives, so they have the skills needed to attain secure, decent incomes and fulfilling employment opportunities. 

Central to our approach is empowering people, developing confidence, and supporting them to build the basic assets needed to develop resilient livelihoods.

Developing practical skills 

We work closely with vocational training institutes to deliver recognised, relevant training that people value, including levels 1-3 of international qualifications from City & Guilds and Pearson, and building teacher capacity with practical training and coaching. We also help to facilitate vocational outreach work, such as on-the-job vocational studies and training, and train-the-trainer approaches where young people take training out into rural areas.  

Careers guidance and job matching 

By working to understand people’s aspirations – and the potential barriers to achieving them – we are well placed to share insights into relevant options and opportunities. We work with partners to establish careers centres, providing information about future options, as well as skills development, including CV writing and interview preparation. Our online job matching platform supports students to find job opportunities, once their skills have improved. 

Nurturing the entrepreneurs of tomorrow 

We’re also creating opportunities for young people to nurture entrepreneurial ability, engaging small businesses and major private sector firms to create jobs for young people, and addressing stereotypes and traditional thinking that harms youth chances. 

Soft skills for the changing world of work 

Technology and the digital economy are shaping how and where we work, and these skills we need. We recognise that this creates both opportunities and threats. 

We support people to develop the skills they need to thrive in the changing world of work, including how to work with new technologies, how to adapt and stay relevant in the face of change, and how to build successful relationships. 

Project focus: SCOPE - Training youths in Uganda

2,000 people trained; 95% of participants felt confident about their future.

"I thought life had ended, but life has just begun" says Whycliffe Rutalemwa, an instructor at St Joseph’s Vocational Training Institute. Thanks to VSO, Whycliffe got an international certification and it has changed his life.

In collaboration with GIZ, DFID, Norad, BMZ and SAP, the Skills and Capacity for Organisational Productivity and Employment (SCOPE) project in Uganda trains 2,000 men, women and young people in the technical and practical skills needed for employment in the oil and gas related sectors.

The project also encompasses local vocational training institutes (VTIs) to ensure they can deliver holistic, market relevant training and skills. Our mid-term evaluation found that 95% of those trained felt confident about their future.

Whycliffe coaches one of his students at St Simon Peters Vocational Training Institute ©VSO/Georgie Scott

Whycliffe Rutalemwa, an instructor at St Joseph’s Vocational Training Institute

This work has been delivered by corporate volunteers from SAP's Social Sabbatical Programme, and young volunteers taking part in the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.

Says Whycliffe: "I have been able to invest in a plot and run a tree nursery, and I’m also operating a small barbershop in the village. I’m employing three people permanently to help me run my businesses, and there are others who are doing casual work. VSO is helping us to bridge that gap out of poverty and become rich and better citizens."


Other areas of our work supporting resilient livelihoods: