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Canada and Canadian community colleges building skilled workforces in developing countries

By Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
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OTTAWA, Canada, May 31, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Today, the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, announced Canada's support for a new Education for Employment (EFE) initiative to meet the growing demand for a skilled workforce in developing countries. Working with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC), this initiative will provide further support to build a country's institutional capacity to fill the need to hire trained employees as their economies grow. Minister Oda announced a new initiative for the Andean region in addition to an extension to an existing EFE initiative in Africa, based on significant results it already achieved.

"Sustainable economic growth is the most effective way to achieve poverty reduction because it provides gainful employment opportunities and increases incomes that result in stronger families, improved communities, and a better future for their countries. During this time of global economic restraint, developing and emerging countries will see their economies grow faster than in many industrialized countries," said Minister Oda. "The increased demand for a skilled workforce must be met locally and Canada is intent on helping developing countries build their capacity so their own people can fill future employment opportunities. Together, with ACCC, we have built a unique model that engages public and private partners in education and training institutions, a model that will meet the needs of local employers."

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) has developed EFE initiatives in partnership with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) in Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

The EFE initiative in Africa began in September 2008 in Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania, and has already achieved significant results in all three countries. With CIDA's support, this project has developed 56 technical and professional training programs and 21 entrepreneurial modules, and trained 514 trainers and 105 academic administrators. With the engagement of the private sector and educational institutions, the program has created networks connecting employers, educators and government. The Government of Canada's contribution, through CIDA, is $20 million from 2008 to 2012. Today, Minister Oda announced an extension for an additional $2.8 million over 9 months from October 2012 to June 2013.

"When training and market needs come together, then we can achieve outcomes that result in stronger enterprises and more employment, which really drives economic growth. Canada's colleges and institutions have helped to build our own economy to become one of the strongest globally. The ACCC will continue to be a partner with CIDA to effectively address poverty reduction in developing countries," concluded Minister Oda.

The Minister also announced a new EFE initiative for the Andean region that will help establish a network of institutional partners, increasing institutional capacity and creating opportunities for people in the region. The Government of Canada's contribution through CIDA is $19.6 million over 5 years from 2012 to 2017.