Innovative Practice 2021 on Inclusive Employment and ICT

Person-centred job training and employment for people with disabilities

PFDA-Vocational Training Center (PFDA-VTC) is a social welfare organisation based in Dhaka, that builds skills and promotes employment opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities, including autism, Down Syndrome, and cerebral palsy. It offers personalized vocational training programmes, ranging from basic life skills to trade-specific training, based on individual capacity. From 2014 to 2019, PFDA-VTC has trained more than 450 people, over 300 of whom have been placed in employment.

“I used to sit at home. Now I work and give my salary to my family and everyone is happy.”

About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:PFDA-Vocational Training Center Trust
Organisation:PFDA-Vocational Training Center Trust
of Implementation
Bangladesh – Dhaka
Start Year2014
Sub-CategoryA project of Civil Society


  • 217 people have found salaried employment, 21 have established self-employment, and 96 are in sheltered employment
  • Approximately 1,500 parents of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have also been trained


There is a lack of specialised vocational services in Bangladesh to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Every student at PFDA-VTC receives an ‘Individual Target Plan’ with specified vocational training outcomes based on their industry interests, support needs, and stage of learning. Progress is monitored quarterly and tracked via VTC’s Curriculum Unit Measurement Operating software (CUMO). Alongside vocational training, therapeutic interventions and training for families and carers are also offered.

When a student is ready, PFDA-VTC matches them to an employer in a process involving the student, employers, family members, and educators. Once agreed, the employer signs a memorandum of understanding setting out the employment conditions, salary, benefits, and workplace adaptations.

VTC staff support the student when starting their role, reducing support as the student becomes increasingly comfortable. Trained students may also enter self-employment or sheltered employment on completion of the programme. PFDA-VTC has supported 217 people into full time employment, 21 into self-employment, and 96 into sheltered employment.

A young man sits in front of a computer screen working; there are other female and male colleagues in the room.

A training session at the PFDA-VTC computer lab.


The PFDA-VTC budget for academic year 2020/21 is US$475,000. About a third of funding comes from student fees (with subsidies for students in financial hardship). Other funding comes from corporate donations, grants, and the sale of handicraft products.

PFDA-VTC plans to replicate this model in seven cities in Bangladesh to support persons with disabilities in rural areas, with donor support. The use of technology is also being explored, for example, online training modules during COVID-19 and incorporating machine learning or other technology to support individuals who have communication difficulties.


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