About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 3571-3577
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain

LEVERAGING APPRENTICESHIPS TO SUPPORT THE LEARNING AND CAREER GROWTH OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: LESSONS FROM THE AFGHAN SECURE FUTURES PROJECT

B. Fowler1, J. Denomy2

1Ben Fowler Consulting Inc. (CANADA)
2Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) (CANADA)
International development programming that seeks to improve the well-being of vulnerable children typically provides them with direct social programming or works to improve the livelihoods of their parents or guardians. The Afghan Secure Future (ASF) project – a three-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that was implemented the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) and managed by Family Health International 360 (FHI360) in Kabul, Afghanistan – instead used an innovative approach to benefiting economically active children employed in small workshops by leveraging the traditional apprenticeship system. This is the primary training system for the informal economy, attracting in particular more vulnerable children who cannot afford to attend government schools or vocational training centers. ASF determined apprenticeships are a good way to learn technical and business skills, but the comprehensiveness of their training and the safety of the working environment vary. The project thus sought to improve learning opportunities, working conditions, and remuneration of apprentices by strengthening the economic prospects of the workshops in which they were employed. ASF built the capacity of workshop owners to take advantage of growing opportunities in the construction sector while simultaneously supporting opportunities for child learning both inside and outside the workshops.

This paper summarizes seven key lessons that were learned in working through the apprenticeship model to improve the learning opportunities of vulnerable children in Afghanistan. First, apprenticeships are an effective pathway to employment. They attract children who are unable to access more formal learning options, offer better employment opportunities when more formal skills training models are not well linked to the private sector, and are often more enduring in volatile environments than structured, classroom-based training systems. Second, the construction sector offers strong opportunities to support the development of vulnerable children. Many segments of the construction sector have low barriers to entry for unskilled youth, and in post-conflict contexts are likely to benefit from infrastructure rehabilitation. Third, carefully selecting subsectors within a promising sector facilitates reaching a larger number of apprentices and targeting firms with greater growth potential. Fourth, workshop performance and growth may correlate with characteristics including workshop size, the education levels of its owners and their level of entrepreneurship. Fifth, social influences often shape apprentices’ pathways to employment. Apprentices whose families used personal connections to arrange an apprenticeship were frequently constrained in their ability to take advantage of new employment opportunities. Sixth, the incentives for hiring apprentices will often vary among firms within a single industry. Larger and smaller firms may have different and contradicting interests in hiring or not hiring apprentices. Finally, apprenticeship systems often do not provide all of the skills that apprentices need, as they are reliant on the existing skill levels of the master craftspeople. Basic skills – such as literacy and numeracy – are particularly unlikely to be taught through apprenticeships, particularly if trainers themselves lack these skills, and in many cases must be addressed through complementary approaches.
@InProceedings{FOWLER2012LEV,
author = {Fowler, B. and Denomy, J.},
title = {LEVERAGING APPRENTICESHIPS TO SUPPORT THE LEARNING AND CAREER GROWTH OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: LESSONS FROM THE AFGHAN SECURE FUTURES PROJECT},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {3571-3577}}
TY - CONF
AU - B. Fowler AU - J. Denomy
TI - LEVERAGING APPRENTICESHIPS TO SUPPORT THE LEARNING AND CAREER GROWTH OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: LESSONS FROM THE AFGHAN SECURE FUTURES PROJECT
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 3571
EP - 3577
ER -
B. Fowler, J. Denomy (2012) LEVERAGING APPRENTICESHIPS TO SUPPORT THE LEARNING AND CAREER GROWTH OF VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN: LESSONS FROM THE AFGHAN SECURE FUTURES PROJECT, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 3571-3577.
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