Vocational training and employment support services (VTESS)

Project completed

The Vocational Training and Employment Support Services (VTESS) Project supports the government of Laos in institutionalizing a national inclusive system for the integration of early school leavers into technical training courses and further education. In the current phase, 3000 disadvantaged young men and women will benefit from improved, labour market relevant training courses. At the same time, the establishment of employment support services to help graduates find employment or self-employment will be piloted. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Vocational training
Employment & economic development
Vocational training
Employment creation
01.08.2019 - 30.11.2023
CHF  8’800’000

Lao PDR has made substantial progress in implementing compulsory education, which consists of five years primary and four years lower secondary education. The primary completion rate has reached 80% in 2018. The lower secondary completion rate, however, is only at 50%.

More than half of the Lao population of 6.9 million lives in rural areas, while much of the labour market is concentrated around major economic centres. About two thirds of the population earn their income in the agricultural sector, and the majority of them live far away from urban centres. These rural areas are characterized by subsistence farming; work is organized more in family structures than in enterprises. In these areas, a formal labour market does literally not exist.


The Integrated Vocational Education System[1] (IVET) in cooperation with Employment Support Service (ESS) consistently brings early school leavers into employment, self–employment, income generation or back into the education system.

Key indicators:

  • At least 3’000 early school leavers have completed IVET courses.
  • 80% of the graduates supported through ESS are in employment or self-employment or generate additional income through enhanced family business/farms (6 months after the completion of training).


[1] The IVET Path is a national system to support students who have completed primary school, but not compulsory secondary school, to go back into education (through equivalency program) or directly into employment or self-employment through short training courses. Compared to “normal” TVET schools, IVET schools will, in addition to certificate and diploma level programs, also run short courses.

Target groups
  • Early school-leavers:  young people (15-35 years) who have completed primary, but not lower secondary education.
  • Teachers from IVET schools, staff from job centres or similar institutions (career counsellors, job coaches, community or youth workers, village facilitators, social workers, etc.).
Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: The IVET system brings young men and women from disadvantaged groups on a path to become employable or re-enter the education system.

Outcome 2: The employment support system (ESS) brings young men and women from disadvantaged groups who have graduated from IVET courses into employment or self-employment.

Outcome 3: The framework conditions for IVET Training and ESS are strengthened organizationally, institutionally and at system level with a specific focus on quality and access.


Expected results:  

  • The legal basis for the IVET path is defined in a coherent/consistent way.
  • Courses, curricula and supporting materials are developed or improved.
  • Teachers are able to teach IVET courses.
  • The financing modalities are defined for students (scholarships) and IVET schools.
  • IVET path awareness, support and outreach is increased.
  • The ESS approach is defined and implemented as a multi-stakeholder approach.
  • Employment Support Services awareness, support and out-reach is increased. 
  • The financing facility is established
  • Quality, organizational, institutional and systems development initiatives are supported.

Results from previous phases:  

  • 8506 students (49% of them women and 35% from ethnic minorities) have taken C1 and C2 courses.
  • Approximately 58% of the graduates were working 12 months after the training (self-employed or employed) or were in an advanced training measure[1].
  • A total of 17 vocational schools have been supported in the introduction, organization and implementation of three to six months (C1&C2) short courses.
  • In 6 schools, Dual Cooperative Training collaboration mechanisms (DCT) with a total of 50 companies have been facilitated. A total of 721 students (259 of them women) participated in the DCT courses.


[1] VELA Tracer Study 2018.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Private sector
Swiss Non-profit Organisation
  • Swiss Private Sector
  • Swisscontact

Coordination with other projects and actors Skills for Tourism (co-financed by Switzerland and Luxembourg), STVET Project financed by ADB, Decent rural employment strategy project (co-financed by ILO and Switzerland, implemented by ILO and MoLSW);  KFW and GIZ on Dual cooperative training.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    8’800’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    7’872’423 Budget of the organisation CHF    880’000
Project phases Phase 3 01.12.2023 - 30.11.2027   (Current phase)

Phase 2 01.08.2019 - 30.11.2023   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.01.2013 - 30.06.2019   (Completed)