Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. –Arthur Ashe
1. Introduction Vocational education is an essential component of strategies to reduce and prevent child labor. Many children drop out of school because they do not see the relevance of education to their lives. In many cases, the decision not to send a child to school is taken by the parents, who would rather have their children enter the workplace as they do not see how learning to read, write, and do sums can help put bread on the table. In order to influence the decisions of at-risk children and their parents, education should have a tangible end, particularly in terms of improving future employment prospects. In such circumstances and where older children are concerned, the focus should be on the transition from school to work, either through vocational education or skills training programs. The skills transmitted through such programs should prepare young people for gainful employment. These skills can be taught through the formal education system, for example, in vocational education institutions, through non-formal education programs, or through private businesses and apprenticeships. In vocational training, work safety and codes must be taught and practiced as well as monitoring by organizations or communities to ensure children are not being exploited or abused in apprenticeship situations.
Ensuring that training programs provide the skills that are in demand in the local labor market is a common feature of most of the CIRCLE projects that offered vocational education and skills training. Once they have completed skills Training, vulnerable children and (former) child laborers need to have access to decent employment. This requires carrying out a local labor market survey and tailoring the training program.
Older boys apprenticed in carpentry, motorbike mechanics, and gardening enterprises. Girls worked primarily in tailoring and cloth dyeing. A training center allowed the AID-Mali trainees to take part in a fashion tailoring course for less than a third of the regular price. The girls were assiduous in their studies and constantly urged the teachers to give them more of their time for training