What do we want to know?
The present evidence summary focuses on the employment and its related outcomes that can be derived from the training interventions, in the Low and Middle-Income countries, particularly in South Asia. It also attempts to address secondary questions surrounding the training providers, the barriers and enablers to the outcome, the intensity, cost-effectiveness and other related outcomes.
Who wants to know and why?
This evidence summary provides potential stakeholders, including policymakers, practitioners, and researchers, with a clear picture of what type of training intervention impacts employment-related outcomes. The summary specifically focuses on South Asia countries including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The final systematic reviews selected for the summary include diverse training programs and target groups - youth, women, MSMEs, health workers and people with disabilities. This provides an in-depth understanding of the employment outcomes based on specific training interventions for a focused audience.
What did we find?
The summary includes eleven systematic reviews that examined the linkage between employment outcomes and training interventions focused on different target groups. The training interventions are grouped into professional development training, vocational skills training, counselling & rehabilitation and entrepreneurship training. The employment-related outcomes are categorized into employment inclination, employment initiation, employment sustenance, employment growth & status and self-employment.
Out of the final reviews, it appears that professional and development training seems to have less impact when compared to others. It has an impact only in two areas, employment sustenance and self-employment. Rest of the interventions have an impact on four major outcomes out of five. Vocational skills and training have an impact on employment inclination, employment sustenance and employment growth & status.
The larger impact is seen in employment growth & status, with three different reviews. Two types of interventions, medical counselling & rehabilitation and entrepreneurship training have an impact on all outcomes, except employment inclination. In the order of priority, these two interventions should be taken first. Action points from medical counselling & rehabilitation training related reviews should be undertaken cautiously for at least two reasons: systematic reviews are patronised by the medicine-related domains than others and are likely to be available for evidence summary more than others, and the number of disabled people might be lower than other needy population subgroups. The best bet emerges to be Entrepreneurship Training with its impact on four of the outcomes.
What are the conclusions?
The training interventions on employment outcomes seem to be positive and help the trainees in employment initiation, sustenance, growth and setting up their businesses. The studies included in this evidence had different employment-related outcomes. The summary indicates several other outcomes - enhanced knowledge, positive attitude, skill diversification, change in attitude, behaviour and practices, motivation, career aspirations and better decision making abilities. Further, in the light of the reviews, following pointers shall be useful for the policymakers:
How did we get these results?
Based on a peer reviews protocol, processes followed in the systematic review were followed. To identify relevant systematic reviews in the area of training interventions and their impact on employment outcomes, a keyword-based search is conducted. All possible bibliographic databases and repositories were searched using a collated list of keywords that focused on the population, the intervention and the outcomes. Only reviews and meta-synthesis reviews were finally included. The reviews were critically appraised by two independent reviewers through the EPPI Reviewer software. A total of 11 relevant systematic reviews that met the inclusion criteria and successfully passed the AMSTAR assessment were included. The final identified reviews were thoroughly studied to extract the data and synthesized to answer the delineated research questions.
This review can be cited as Ilavarasan, P.V., Kar, A.K. and Aswani, R. (2017). Employment outcomes of skills training in low and middle income South Asian countries: An evidence summary. London: EPPI Centre, Social Science Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education, University College London.]