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Vocational Training, Livelihoods & Workforce Development


The first Millennium Development Goal has as one of its targets to achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people. The United Nations has noted that:

  • Deterioration of the labor market, triggered by the economic crisis, has resulted in a decline in employment
  • As jobs were lost, more workers have been forced into vulnerable employment
  • Since the economic crisis, more workers find themselves and their families living in extreme poverty

PSD associates recognize the basic importance of workforce development in addressing these MDG targets, especially focusing on at-risk youth, women and other vulnerable groups. PSD’s focus on economic growth through competitive business and investment leads us to strengthen the linkage between skills providers and business, enabling them to communicate and plan together to implement curricula, teacher training, and other skills development programs that respond to a country’s true economic needs. Life-skills training and skills transfer are integral to PSD’s approach to all its work.

A competitive workforce is crucial to enabling an economy to develop its productivity, attract investment, and identify and implement competitiveness strategies. In almost every country, businesses and potential investors recognize the lack of needed skills and education as being a crucial weakness in increasing productivity. Primary and secondary education, vocational-technical training, and university education too often are not directed towards providing the employment market with well-prepared and appropriately certified graduates; nor to providing their students with marketable skills and certifications.

PSD’s leaders have provided training to the staff and leadership of private companies, service providers, business associations, producer groups, NGOs, public sector organizations and international organizations. They have conducted executive training seminars for public and private leadership and provided programs for value chain and cluster stakeholders and for stakeholders in local economies. In addition, PSD experts have helped establish and reform several business schools and management programs worldwide, and helped them to develop their curricula and faculty capacities; pioneered the strategies, tools, and approaches for the 21st century approach to workforce development; and provided a comprehensive set of diagnostics that benchmark a country or an industry with regard to workforce competitiveness.

PSD seeks to enable clients to understand and define their workforce requirements, and to engage with skills providers to collaborate in implementing programs that serve businesses’  needs. Our experts help clients to carry out needs assessments and to develop strategies to satisfy the identified priorities. They have developed several operational tools that have proven effective in the contexts of emerging economies, such as the “10 Bridges” tool for improving the effectiveness and productivity of university-business collaboration.

Our ability to help clients appreciate the competitiveness challenges facing a country’s industries in a globalizing market place enables us to develop the collaboration that drives strategic initiatives related to government policy changes affecting education and labor markets; educational modernization and quality improvement; and industry initiatives to address their workforce challenges.