The Effects of Skill Training on Livelihoods: Evidence from BRAC’s Intervention on School Dropout Adolescents

The school dropout rate in Bangladesh is estimated to be about 40 per cent at the secondary level. The majority of the dropouts are most likely to remain unemployed or, if employed, engaged in low-paying and hazardous work in the informal sector. With the aim of producing well-trained and empowered youths, BRAC initiated the ‘Skills Training for Advancing Resources (STAR)’ program in 2012. The program provides on-the-job and classroom training in various informal trades to disadvantaged school dropout adolescents aged between 14-18 years. This study estimates the effects of the program on employment, earning levels, financial assets, empowerment and household-level welfare. The results show that the intervention succeeded in increasing the labour market participation and earnings of adolescents. The magnitude of the effect on earnings is about six times the baseline mean level of earnings. Increased earnings of the adolescents translated into household welfare– as proxied by food expenditures and durable asset holdings. Evidence also shows the positive effects of the program on enhancing empowerment, improving self-confidence, and preventing substance abuse. Further, the intervention appears to have improved the work environment and job satisfaction among school dropouts. The cost-benefit ratio of the intervention is found to be about 1:3.

Authors: Rahman, Rehnuma; Rahman, Atiya; Samadder, Zion Rabbi; Bayes, Abdul
Type: Working Paper
Year: 2017