Our Training into Work programme aims to tackle youth unemployment in Zambia.

Our 2021 Impact Study demonstrates that our training helps to support local livelihoods. Skills training reduces poverty by giving trainees the potential to earn a better living, enjoy greater resilience and provide practical skills to their communities:

Our 2021 Impact Study focused on graduates from our Training into Work programme from 2015, 2018 and 2019.

It included:

  • 346 people surveyed – 201 graduates and a non-trained comparison group of 145 people
  • 22 focus group discussions
  • 29 Most Significant Change stories
  • 27 key informant interviews

Our thanks to everyone who took part in the study.

  • 88% of graduates were working in construction within 6-months of graduating. Great news!
  • On average it took 2.6 months for graduates to engage in construction work.
  • 43% of graduates said they are working 10 days or more per month in construction. This is lower than the 51% seen in the 2020 study, and 61% in 2019.
  • 92% of male graduates became active in construction within 6-months of graduating, compared to 76% of female graduates. On average our male graduates found construction work quicker than female graduates.
  • Male graduates are working more in the construction sector than our female graduates. 53% of male graduates were working in construction for 10 days and above per month, compared to 19% of female graduates.
  • Graduates’ average gross monthly income has grown from 310 Zambian Kwacha (ZMW) at the start of their training (baseline) to 1,376 ZMW.

    This is an increase of +344%, and nearly three times more than that earned by the comparison group.

    Average incomes for all the groups in the survey, except for the comparison group, were above the poverty line of $1.90 per day.

The average monthly income is down from 2,124 ZMW seen in the 2020 study – an indication of the impact of the pandemic and economic downturn in Zambia.

Recent challenges in the construction sector have resulted in the need for graduates to diversify their incomes.

Around 49% of their monthly income is earned through construction work – on average 669 ZMW. This is lower than previous studies when construction work made up an average of 76% of income in 2020, and 68% of income in 2019.

The average gross monthly income for males graduates is 1,677 ZMW. Our female graduates are earning significantly less, earning on average 616 ZMW per month.

Female graduates have no problems passing their training, but continue to face gender discrimination in the workplace with some employers sceptical about their capabilities.

We have inspiring examples of female graduates thriving in construction, but many have had to work extra hard to prove their skills and commitment compared to their male counterparts. We are committed to take action for equality and help #BreakTheBias

The study shows that our graduates are working their way out of poverty.

The Poverty Probability Index is a poverty measurement tool. It is not based on income, but rather uses other key information. It generates score based on 10 easy-to-answer questions including “What material is your roof made out of? How many of your children are in school?” The PPI is country-specific.

PPI scores are from 0 – 100.  The lower the PPI score, the more likely the household is living below the poverty line.

We aim to recruit young people whose household scores less than 40. PPI data is gathered when the trainees start their training (baseline), and compared with data from the same questions through the impact study (follow up):

  • The average PPI score for 2015 and 2018 groups was 29.3 at baseline, and 46.1 at follow up
  • The average PPI score for the 2019 group was 32.8 at baseline, and 55.1 at follow up

(The study used the Simple Poverty Scorecard Poverty-Assessment Tool Zambia 2010 PPI tool to calculate PPI scores for the 2015 and 2018 graduates, and the 2015 PPI tool for the 2019 graduates and the comparison group)

The 2021 study also identified that graduates are saving more money.

The 2019 and 2020 studies showed an average monthly saving of 362 ZMW and 376 ZMW respectively. In 2021 this was 581 ZMW – an increase from 120 ZMW before their training, and 254 ZMW by the comparison group. Graduate savings are high in proportion to their income. Having savings is vital to cope with uncertain times when work is harder to find.

Before the training, the money I was getting was hand-to-mouth. But now I can save a minimum of 200 ZMW per month in my Airtel mobile money account, and I am also banking with Access Bank.” 

2018 graduate from the Centre for Excellence

Findings show that our Training into Work programme continues to help people out of poverty. In the interviews and stories collected graduates describe how the skills gained are helping to change their lives.

We continually strive to increase the impact of our programme. The study identifies several areas for further development:

  • Gender: We have already started to take forward plans addressing the gender inequality experienced by our female trainees and graduates. The development of our new Women into Work programme will ensure a significant gender shift in our training programme to not only train more women, but also help ensure that they enjoy the same outcomes as male graduates.
  • Construction skills: Several graduates highlighted that the construction sector is increasingly demanding multi-skilled workers who can deliver on more than one trade. We continue exploring difficult skill-sets and seeing which courses do best. We look to balance the capabilities of our young recruits, and the needs of the local labour market.
  • Life skills: The study highlights that life skills are important in ensuring our graduates are ready for work and able to successfully secure opportunities. We are currently redesigning the life skills component of our training to improve content and impact. This includes developing confidence and entrepreneurial skills to engage with various income generating activities. We aim to have our new Life Skills course and supporting learning materials ready for June 2022.
  • Employers: The study supports our approach towards employer engagement. Connecting trainees to potential employers during placements, as well as referring graduates post-training, plays an important role in opening up employment opportunities. Many graduates interviewed felt that more companies need to understand and recognise workforce issues, and that there was opportunity for Build It to work with these organisations to help facilitate more favourable workforce conditions and requisites.

We caught up with Kelvin as part of the study. 

Kelvin went through our entry-level Brick and Blocklaying course at the Centre for Excellence in 2018:

I heard about the bricklaying skills programme from a friend. I had no skills, but l had been helping at construction sites doing manual work.

I took the Build It bricklaying course in 2018, and l was placed at AVIC Housing for my attachment… I then worked for AVIC for eight months.

I had no hope that my children would be educated. From the money I received from AVIC, I bought fertiliser and seed to help with my farm. The funds I then made from farming meant I could send my children to school. I can feed my family with regular meals.

l desperately wanted to build a house for my family. I am very proud now to have my house almost complete so that my family can have somewhere to live even if I die.”