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STRIVE Learning Report #2: Leveraging Apprenticeships to Reach and Benefit Vulnerable Youth: Lessons from STRIVE’s Afghan Secure Futures Program

Jennifer Denomy
Scott Ruddick
Ben Fowler
Institutional Sponsor: 
United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Publication date: 
Friday, December 6, 2013

This report draws from the experience of the Afghan Secure Futures (ASF) project to highlight several important technical considerations when leveraging apprenticeships to reach vulnerable youth. Its intended audiences are implementers and donors who are developing programming for vulnerable children and youth and considering entry points for interventions or pathways for economic inclusion. The report discusses each finding in turn and then presents conclusions. 

This report summarizes findings from using an apprenticeship model to improve economic opportunities for vulnerable youth in Afghanistan. First, it finds that apprenticeships can be an effective pathway to employment, particularly for more vulnerable youth. Second, the construction sector offers opportunities for underskilled youth, particularly in a post-conflict context. Third, careful selection of subsectors can maximize benefits to apprentices. Fourth, workshop performance and growth may correlate with workshop size and owners’ education level and entrepreneurialism. Fifth, the incentives to hire apprentices may vary among firms within a single subsector. Sixth, social influences shape apprentices’ pathways to employment. Finally, apprenticeships teach vital skills but cannot address all youth learning needs.


ASF was one of the four country programs implemented under the STRIVE program, funded by the USAID Displaced Children and Orphans Fund, in close collaboration with the USAID Microenterprise Development office cooperative agreement. STRIVE is an Associate Award under the FIELD-Support LWA.


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