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Colombia's SENA Celebrating 60 Years

11 August 2017

The key driver of vocational skills development in Colombia is celebrating 60 years by setting its sights on expanding its mission, and helping to shape the future of the South American nation.

The National Learning Service – known as SENA, an acronym of its Spanish title – was established in 1957 through an agreement between the Colombian government and the country’s private sector and trade unions, and is now its biggest vocational education and training (VET) institution, supporting five million Colombians to learn and hone new skills each year.

A Member of WorldSkills since 2008, SENA boasts 33 offices across Colombia, with 117 training centres in its biggest cities, and has broadened its reach and its impact by establishing 270 mobile classrooms which allow it to provide training and guidance to Colombians living in remote areas and smaller cities. 

Described by Yesid Rusinque, Technical Delegate, as “a keystone in building a new country of peace”, the institution counts members of the FARC guerrilla group among those it helps, to ease their integration into society and provide them with fresh purpose."

“SENA is becoming an important referent for Colombia, as the quality of its training program continues to improve and reaches international standards, and that is mainly because of its status as part of WorldSkills,” explained Mr Rusinque, as the institution marked its diamond anniversary.

“Over the past 60 years, SENA has been increasing its coverage, including across all the key knowledge sectors, and consistently growing among all the departments [territorial subdivisions] of the country, developing training services in all of these departments’ capital cities and most of Colombia’s middle-sized cities, and even reaching small and faraway cities.”

“Our goal for the coming years is to increase this coverage, by continuing to develop high-quality VET services for all Colombians that align with international standards. We will achieve this through using leading-edge technology, incorporating global best practice into the training process, and continuing to develop strategic agreements and partnerships with the world’s top companies and VET institutions.”

SENA’s programs offer onsite, blended, and virtual training elements that cover areas such as employment skills, innovation, and entrepreneurship. All of these services are free to individuals and companies and funded by the Colombian government.

Among its recent areas of focus has been the provision of training for 100 FARC guerrillas in the department of La Guajira, in the desert terrain of Colombia's northeast corner, with Mr Rusinque saying, “Similar processes are now being developed in many different parts of the country.”

For more information on SENA visit