Vocational Education and English Skills Training Project

The ‘Vocational Education and English Skills Training Project’ (VEEST) ran in Sirsa (in Haryana) and Sitapur (in Uttar Pradesh) from 2010 to 2014. It was a partnership between the British Council, the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), and City & Guilds (UK), and was funded by the European Union.


As part of the project, the British Council trained teachers to deliver the specially-designed Workplace English course, which aimed to improve the language and soft skills of 10,800 learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, leading to better employability prospects. The course was supported by the local governments of Sirsa and Sitapur, and was delivered through partnerships with local education institutions, schools and colleges. Teaching centres were also set up in each district. The course was offered free of cost.


Project Objectives

  • To provide vocational and English language skills to 10,800 disadvantaged learners between the ages of 16 and 35 in the two districts of Sitapur and Sirsa. 
  • To select and train 60 language teachers, so that they could deliver the Workplace English course using learner-centred approaches.
  • To support teachers’ continuing professional development by observing their classes and giving developmental feedback and mentoring, running local workshops, holding weekly telephone helplines, and building a social media community of practice. 
  • To develop a locally sustainable and scalable delivery model.
  • The CII focused on the delivery of skills training across the manufacturing, agro-processing and tourism sector with linkages to employment.


  • 11,232 target learners successfully completed the British Council Workplace English course. Evaluation data including end-of-unit and end-of-course assessment scores for each learner, and quantitative and qualitative feedback from learners and teachers demonstrates that learners typically made excellent progress in their English and soft skills, and that they were highly satisfied with what they gained from the project.

  •  More than 60 teachers were selected and given extensive training to enable them to deliver the Workplace English course, using learner-centred approaches

  •  Monitoring data suggests that most teachers consistently met expectations in terms of their use of English and classroom performance.

  •  After the end of the project, teachers’ enhanced skills enabled them to find better jobs, and some teachers set up associations to continue delivering training courses on their own, thus demonstrating the sustainability of project objectives.

  •  Establishing a successful and robust delivery model constitutes an additional outcome. This unique model includes recruitment procedures, teacher and learner training materials, delivery mechanisms, remuneration systems, mentoring, monitoring and evaluation processes. This model can potentially be replicated elsewhere, is scalable, and supports the objectives of the Indian National Policy on Skill Development that call for, ‘the establishment of flexible delivery mechanisms that respond to the characteristics of a wide range of needs of stakeholders’.


What the stakeholders say

'I would like to thank you for selecting Sirsa as one of your focus districts in the country and for successfully delivering the Workplace English course…It was heartening to see the enthusiasm and confidence of students during the certificate distribution ceremony yesterday. This further strengthens my belief that if right opportunities are provided then transformational changes can be made in rural youth.' - Dr Ashok Tanwar, Former Member of Parliament, Sirsa

'The continuing professional development element added to the Workplace English training course has provided me a platform to improve my skills in teaching and grow further in my future endeavours.' - Jasvinder Singh, Teacher, Sirsa

'I knew English before but after completing the course I am able to communicate fluently and correctly in English. I can summarise the Workplace English course in three words: confidence, fluency and grammar.' - Rishab, student, 20 years old

'The lessons in the course were informative and enjoyable. I also thank my teacher for making the lessons interactive.' - Shipra, student, 18 years old