Skills for Jobs in Conflict-Affected Areas

Background to the project

In spite of an overall decline in armed conflicts in the past two decades, 35 countries on average continue to experience conflict each year, resulting in 250,000 annual conflict-related deaths. Moreover, close to one in two post-conflict countries relapse into armed conflict in five years or less. In fact, it has been projected that 17 countries, which are currently experiencing a cessation of hostilities since 2006, are at a high risk of a return to warfare.

High rates of unemployment amongst ex-combatants can increase the likelihood of a return to conflict. For this reason, international organisations often intervene to secure jobs for ex-combatants in the aftermath of war, and vocational training is typically viewed as a magic bullet solution to doing this.

The problem is that ex-combatants are frequently unable to get jobs after training. This not only means that they remain unemployed, thus constituting a prolonged security risk, but it also creates unmet expectations - ex-combatants typically exchange their firearms for a job, not a stint at training. These unmet expectations often lead to a combination of disappointment and frustration, which can ultimately deter ex-combatants from engaging in a country's peace process.

Project overview and approach

The City & Guilds Centre for Skills Development (CSD) recently completed a research project to better understand why ex-combatants often struggle to get jobs after training and how training can be better connected to jobs. A literature review was undertaken and a vocational training and job creation programme for ex-combatants, which was implemented in Aceh, Indonesia, from 2006 to 2009, was analysed and documented.

Key recommendations:

Implementing agencies and training providers

  • Conduct labour market research before programme design and delivery
  • Secure buy-in from ex-combatants, communities and political leaders
  • Make certain that ex-combatants receive high quality training that is market relevant
  • Monitor, evaluate and support ex-combatants after training to, where applicable, get jobs, set-up businesses or retrain
  • Partner with other organisations to ease pressure on budgets, enhance expertise and increase the likelihood of long-term support to ex-combatants

Donors and national governments
  • Increase funding to disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) programmes
  • Incorporate activities such as labour market research, monitoring and evaluation, employment referral, business start-up support and retraining into programme budgets

Expected impact

The outcome of this research project is a report entitled, "Bridging the divide: Connecting training to jobs in post-conflict settings." The report explains why ex-combatants often struggle to secure jobs following their training and how implementing agencies and training providers can better connect training to jobs in the future. It also provides recommendations for policy makers and researchers.

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Project documents

Bridging the divide: Connecting training to jobs in post-conflict settings report

Bridging the divide: Connecting training to jobs in post-conflict settings report [PDF]

Vocational training in conflict-affected areas - Briefing note [PDF]

Vocational training in conflict-affected areas - Briefing note [PDF]

CSD's response to 2011 Global Monitoring Report [PDF]CSD's response to 2011 Global Monitoring Report [PDF]


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The problem is that ex-combatants are frequently unable to get jobs after training

Project date: March – July 2011