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Mid-Level Skills Training Project

Posted on:
16.09.2018 by RECOTVET

Implementing Institutions:
Secretariat of State for Vocational Training Policy and Employment (SEPFOPE)

Supporting Institutions:
Asian Development Bank


Scale of Initiative:



The Timor-Leste Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030 lays great emphasis on the rapid expansion of the manufacturing sector, particularly construction and automotive trades. These trades lack skilled local workforce, as well as certified TVET programmes. At the same time, youth unemployment rate remians very high (21.9% as per Timor-Leste Labour Force Survey, 2013).

The Asian Development Bank-supported ($12 million) Mid-Level Skills Training Project (MLSTP) assists the Government of Timor-Leste ($1 million contribution) in organising mid-level skills training through Secretariat of State for Vocational Training Policy and Employment (SEPFOPE). With construction and automotive trades as focus areas, the MLSTP aims to fill the gaps in demand and supply of labour by developing a skilled and employable local workforce in the sector.

In addition, MLSTP promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment by increasing women’s participation in non-traditional careers such as construction and automotive trades through the Gender Action Plan (GAP). By offering skills training and counselling and reserving internships and recruitment for women in construction and automotive trades, the GAP is facilitating placements for Timor-Leste’s first female mechanics.


The main aim of the MLSTP is to contribute towards the development of a skilled workforce in Timor-Leste with improved quality and higher levels of vocational training that is responsive to labour market needs. The objectives include:

  • giving local people the skills to fill local jobs instead of depending on foreign labour;
  • developing national certification levels II-IV in construction and automotive trades;
  • facilitating employment opportunities for MLSTP graduates (at least 65% TVET graduates skilled in construction and automative trades to be hired within three months of graduation); and
  • increasing female participation in construction and automotive trades from 5% in 2009 to at least 20% by 2016.


At the implementation level, the programme supports five training providers to deliver the project; Don Bosco-Comoro in Dili, SENAI-Becora in Dili, Tibar Training Centre in Liquiça, Dili Institute of Technology (DIT) in Baucau, and Claret Training Centre in Salele, Cova Lima district.

Activities support the delivery of five key outputs: (i) mid-level skills training provision, (ii) technical teacher training, (iii) enhanced labour market linkages of technical and vocational education and training (TVET), (iv) strengthened financing and support for TVET, and (v) project implementation and management. 

The MLSTP Graduates Study (2016) revealed that 66% of the potential employers who were surveyed did not have a relationship with a training centre. Although not yet an institutionalised process, steps have been taken to establish links with the private sector, especially by Centers for Employment and Professional Guidance (CEOPs). CEOPs are encouraging employers to promote job vacancies at their centres to facilitate employment opportunities for youth and graduates.

In regard to achieving the target of at least 65% TVET graduates (skilled in construction and automative trades) getting hired within three months of graduation, the MLSTP has priortitised trainees ‘interested’ in securing gainful employment. It has assisted interested graduates, including female construction workers and mechanics, by offering soft skills training, developing positive work attitudes, and facilitating their socialisation with each other and the industry.


The following outcomes have been achieved thus far:

  • As of March 2016, nearly 1,000 students had completed competency-based training in construction and automotive trades (levels 1-3), and 500 were undergoing training;
  • Female enrolment had gone up to 23% by 2015. As of 2017, six automotive graduates had found traineeship placements and more were being trialled;
  • Training of 47 teachers from 5 construction training centers has been completed as of October 2015, which was conducted by the State Polytechnic of Malang, Indonesia for diploma 2 programmes in mechanical, civil, and engineering (all training in module formats was carried out in Timor-Leste instead of sending teachers to overseas);
  • The target to increase female participation in construction and automotive trades from 5% in 2009 to at least 20% by 2016 has been exceeded. About one in four construction and automotive trainees in Timor-Leste is a woman. Having received Diploma 2’s in engineering from an Indonesian polytechnic institute under the MLSTP, six female construction teachers are now qualified to deliver mid-level training;
  • Construction of Tibar Dormitory is in progress, but experiencing delay due to lack of materials;
  • Additional training centre/partner, Senia-Becora, has now been included for support based on a partnership agreement with SEPFOPE. The centre provides good quality construction skills training to a large number of young Timorese; and
  • For mid-level trainees, training is also provided through industry partnerships, where industries provide on-the-job practical skills and accredited training programmes.


Mid-Level Skills Training Project
Project Management Unit (PMU)
SENAI-Becora Training Centre
Becora, Dili, Timor-Leste
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: (+670) 331 1519

Useful Links

Project Profile:

Project Data Sheet:

Project Documents:

Other Sources

ADB (Asian Development Bank). (n.d.). Gender Action Plan. Retrieved from [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

ADB (Asian Development Bank). (n.d.). Summary Poverty Reduction And Social Strategy. Retrieved from [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

Francis, S. (2017). Timor-Leste’s Automotive Industry Trains its First Female Mechanics. Retrieved from [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

Francis, S. (2016). Timor-Leste TVET - Employment of MLSTP Graduates Study 2016 (Draft). Retrieved from [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

Francis, S. (2014). Timor-Leste TVET - Youth Training and Employment Perception Study. Retrieved from [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

Government of Timor-Leste. (n.d.).Timor-Leste Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030. Retrieved from [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].

SEPFOPE (Sekretaria Estadu Polítika Formasaun, Profisionál no Empregu) & DGS (Direção Geral De Estatistica, Ministry of Finance). (2013). Timor-Leste - Labour Force Survey 2013. Retrieved from [Accessed 1 Jun. 2018].


Photo Credits: Sarah Francis



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