Call for Consultants: Skills for Employment – Review of Good Practice and Lessons at WUSC


Skills for EmploymentReview of Good Practice and Lessons at WUSC

Duration of Contract25 days
Reports toSenior Technical Advisor, Economic Opportunities
Application Deadline20 August 2021
Expected Start Date10 September 2021
Level of Effort25 days

WUSC (World University Service of Canada) is a Canadian non-profit organization working to create a better world for all young people. We bring together a diverse network of students, volunteers, schools, governments, and businesses who share this vision. Together, we develop education, economic opportunities and empowerment solutions that overcome inequality and exclusion for youth around the world, particularly young women and young refugees. WUSC currently works in 25 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas, with an annual budget of approximately CAD $40 million. We have over 90 staff in our Ottawa office, and over 200 people in our offices in other countries, implementing over 20 development initiatives in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, the UK Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), the Mastercard Foundation, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and other donors.

Within our Economic Opportunities portfolio, WUSC takes a specific interest in strengthening labour market outcomes for marginalized young people, with a particular focus on young women and refugees. Interventions include building the capacity of tertiary vocational education training (TVET) institutions, supporting social marketing to challenge social norms that adversely affect labour market access for young women, working with the private sector to ensure that employment opportunities meet the aspirations of young people, and that systems are in place to ensure quality work opportunities, and bringing private sector and training providers together to improve the relevance of training and develop job matching mechanisms. 

WUSC’s interventions are distinguished by a market systems approach that supports local stakeholders while taking into account the root causes of labour market failure and social exclusion.  In addition, we strive to align all interventions with our key programming principles, as articulated in our Theory of Change.

WUSC is currently launching a portfolio-level review of our Skills for Employment and Labour Market programming. The overall goal of the review is to identify good practices across the portfolio, benchmark these against good practice elsewhere, and offer WUSC advice to assist in program quality improvement and identify new avenues for programming. While the focus of the assignment is to review the overall application of systems approaches, the consultant will in this context review specific mechanisms for change used within WUSC Skills for Employment programming. These include, among others: i. curriculum development and training support; ii. apprenticeships and Internship support; iii. social marketing and community engagement; iv. gender equality and women’s leadership; v. Business engagement, sector councils; vi. labour market analysis; vii. Job matchmaking mechanisms. The consultant will work with WUSC staff to identify specific areas of focus early in the assignment. 

The review should focus on current and past practice (reviewing lessons from current and recently closed WUSC projects) and forward looking (proposing frameworks and new directions based on both lessons from WUSC programming and good practices pursued by peer organizations and other actors). A rough breakdown of the overall level of effort associated with each should be 60% review and analysis of current and recent WUSC programming, and 40% forward looking programming and design advice.

Specific goals of the review include:

  • Identify lessons learned in WUSC’s application of a market systems approach to skills for employment.
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses and program design principles, particularly insofar as they take a market systems or systems lens and draw upon key principles and assumptions in WUSC’s Theory of Change.
  • Benchmark WUSC’s work against peer organizations and good practices in market systems approaches to skills development and employment interventions.
  • Identify the degree to which design and implementation of WUSC programming has been able to contribute towards the sustainability of interventions and the ability of interventions to scale through replication or growth.
  • Identify design tools and frameworks that can inform future program design.

Key Questions:

The key questions below are drawn from key principles in WUSC’s Theory of Change. The consultant will be asked to refine these questions in collaboration with WUSC in the process of developing an inception report.

  • Contextual Relevance:
    • To what degree do program designs reflect a systems view of labour markets, and to what degree do they integrate market systems analysis into their planning and design?
    • How have program designs engaged with parallel actors and existing solutions promoted by governments, private sector and donors?
    • How have program designs aligned with incentives of employers, training service providers and other actors to influence behaviors?
  • Inclusion:
    • To what degree are programs clear on their target group and whom they are serving?
    • How successful have programs been in reaching these groups?
    • How have programs engaged marginalized young people in program design, monitoring and evaluation?
  • Scale:
    • What evidence exists for changes in behavior or innovations incited by programs to have been replicated, copied or scaled?
    • To what extent have programs attempted to quantify value for money, and align service standards with the ability of actors (including beneficiaries) to pay for services?
  • Sustainability:
    • What evidence exists for changes in institutional behavior and innovations incited by programs to have been sustained post-project closure? 
  • Quality:
    • How successful have the programs been in gathering data and making decisions based on sound evidence?
    • To what degree are programs using MERL frameworks and processes that area specific to Skills for Employment Programming?

Methods and Approach

The consultant or consultants are asked to propose an approach that is based primarily on desk reviews, review of WUSC internal documents, project reports, and data. Key informant interviews should be conducted online, and will include interviews with WUSC staff, with WUSC stakeholders and partners and with local key informants in industry and government. While this review does not focus on one specific geography, the consultant is advised to work with WUSC to identify one or more geographies or interventions for specific focus and analysis.

Key Projects for review:

Tier 1 (Robust analysis of theory of change, results and lessons learned).

These projects focus specifically on Skills for Employment.

ASSET (closed) – Sri Lanka – 2014 – 2019

INVEST (startup) – Ghana – 2020 – Ongoing

WELEAD (mature) – 2017 – Ongoing

BRIDGE (mature) – 2018 – Ongoing

Tier 2 (Analysis of one component or mechanism)

These projects focus on Skills for Employment as one component, or as a cross-cutting theme.

IGNI+E (startup) – 2020 – Ongoing

Uniterra (closed) – 2015 – 2020

LEAP (startup) – 2019 – Ongoing

DREEM (startup) – 2020 – Ongoing

WAGES (Mature) – 2015 – Ongoing

Level of Effort 

The level of effort for this consultancy is estimated at up to 25 days.  

WUSC Roles and Responsibilities

  • WUSC will provide relevant documentation and answer the Consultant’s questions throughout the period of the mandate.
  • WUSC will mobilize the necessary team to support the consultant and designate a person responsible for the file at HQ. 
  • WUSC will provide the Consultant with feedback/comments on the various documents produced, according to the approved work plan.
  • WUSC will provide the Consultant with any support deemed necessary in the accomplishment of this mandate.

Indicative Timelines and Deliverables of the Consultancy 

Estimated contributions expected in working days will be determined in consultation with the selected candidate. The following proposed schedule will be revised in consultation between WUSC and the consultant during the inception phase.

Signing of Contract 0.5August
Inception Meeting 0.5September
Submission of detailed work plan, draft inception report and data collection tools3September
Submission of final version of inception report which incorporates WUSC comments1September
Data collection through desk review, key informant interviews & focus group discussions8October
Submission of draft report including methodology, findings, recommendations, and framework/ guidance for programming 6October
Submission of final report including methodology, findings, recommendations, framework (including various revisions) and a slide deck.3October
Lead capacity strengthening sessions for WUSC staff based on findings and recommendations 3October

Consultant Qualifications

  • The consultant should have at least 10 years of professional experience with proven expertise in skills for employment, youth development and/or market systems development.
  • Excellent familiarity with technical vocational education and training institutions operating in resource poor environments, including those run by governments, civil society organizations and the private sector.
  • Strong evaluation and research skills, including experience in meta-analysis and portfolio level reviews.
  • Strong and demonstrated commitment to gender equality.
  • Experience developing strategies that incorporate both a market orientation and an inclusion or rights-based approach.
  • Knowledge and understanding of Canada’s Feminist International Assisstance Policy.


WUSC’s activities seek to balance inequities and create sustainable development around the globe; the work ethic of our staff, volunteers, consultants, representatives and partners shall correspond to the values and mission of the organization. WUSC promotes responsibility, respect, honesty, and professional excellence and we will not tolerate harassment, coercion and sexual exploitation and abuse of any form.

WUSC is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available upon request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process. Only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No telephone calls please.

Interested parties are encouraged to submit an application package to [email protected] including a short technical and financial proposal of no more than 3 pages, and CVs of the consultant or consultants. Questions regarding this consultancy can be directed to Jim Delaney, Senior Technical Advisor, Economic Opportunities at [email protected]

Only electronic proposals will be accepted. The deadline for the submission of applications is Friday,  20 August 2021 at the close of business 5:00 pm EST.

Know someone who would be perfect for this opportunity? Please share!