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West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE)

A program that empowers youth in West Africa with employability skills training and provides them with employment opportunities in industries such as retail and hospitality


There is a youth unemployment crisis in West Africa due to underinvestment in education. While employers lack the incentives to develop skills and competencies among young people.

WAVE’s goal is to pioneer the ‘hire for competencies over credentials’ approach by screening for job seekers with innate talent and emotional intelligence and then providing training in industry-relevant employability skills such as customer relations and communications. WAVE partners with employers and matches them with their pool of trained and job-ready youth.


Current and Future Impact

WAVE trainees typically live on $41 per month pre-WAVE training and increase their monthly earnings to about $106 after training. To date, WAVE has trained over 2,500 Nigerian youth and placed over 1,000 of them in entry-level jobs. 75% of WAVE’s alumni are engaged in employment, education, or training. WAVE has also partnered with Lagos State Education Department to deliver training to 7,000 university students.

WAVE has open sourced its training model, providing learning institutions interested in replicating the model an opportunity to build upon their approach. By enabling ‘replicators’, WAVE hopes to increase access to employment for 25,000 unemployed Nigerian youth and provide access to soft skills education across West Africa within 5 years.


Region: Sub-Saharan Africa [Map]

Theme(s): Skills and Training