Vocational Training A Key Component to Cambodia’s Development

Upskilling Cambodia’s workforce is instrumental to secure further investment and meet market labor needs, with technical vocational training a key element to reach these demands
Mango laborers in Chhuk district, Kampot provice. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Mango laborers in Chhuk district, Kampot provice. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Cambodia's economic success depends on having skilled technicians to meet investors’ demands and labor market needs - and a shortage of human resources could impede the country's ability to attract the investment it needs.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen emphasized the importance of technical vocational training in meeting local needs and attracting investors during a graduation ceremony this week at the National Technical Training Institute (NTTI).

Presenting diplomas to more than 5,400 technical teachers and students, Hun Sen said that having skilled technicians is crucial to meeting the demands of both investors and the labor market. Without in-demand skills and human resources, Cambodia may struggle to attract the investment needed for economic success.

"Training without a job market is not successful. Now the demand for the labor market is bigger because of the local demand and the need to attract investors to come to Cambodia. If we do not have human resources for investors, we will not succeed in attracting [investors]," said the Cambodian PM.

Kaing Monika, deputy secretary-general of the Textile, Apparel, Footwear & Travel Goods Association in Cambodia (TAFTAC), said that Cambodia has a development strategy in place for the garment, footwear and bag sector for 2022 to 2027.

“Vocational training is very important for the support of industry development. In fact, in the Cambodia Garment & Bags, 2022-2027 strengthening of human resources, focusing on vocational training is the first of the five strategic mechanisms,” Monika said.

He added that the government supports the private sector through the Skill Development Fund (SDF) to provide financial assistance for training preparedness and skills development courses. Training is necessary for the continuous development of the industry.

According to a Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training’s press release, these training courses will improve skills in tailoring, organizing garment production, and creating bags. The Cambodia Garment Training Institute (CGTI) will offer the training, either free of charge or with a fee for workers who need to learn these skills.

The Ministry also provides various courses, including advanced diplomas in Apparel Merchandising, Industrial Engineering, Production, Sewing Operator Skills, and Operational Management.

The statement said that to ensure that workers can participate in the training, their wages and benefits will be maintained during the training period, and training opportunities will be made available despite any limitations or constraints.

Chhay Sivlin, President of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), said technical vocational training plays a crucial role in the development of the tourism sector. She added that it requires a skilled workforce to meet the demands of tourists and provide high-quality services.

The CATA president noted that since the outbreak of COVID-19, many tour agencies have been severely impacted and have yet to fully recover. As a result, there is a lack of available human resources in the tourism industry with regard to vocational skills.

The pandemic has caused significant disruption to the tourism sector, leading to decreased demand for services and job losses, which has resulted in a shortage of skilled workers in the industry.

“Technical vocational training programs offer specialized training in areas such as hospitality, tourism management, and culinary arts, among others, which can help individuals develop the necessary skills to succeed in the industry,” Sivlin said.

She added that there are various skills and expertise required to fill the skills gap in the tourism industry, ranging from booking experts to marketing professionals, tour operators, and providers of tourism package services. In addition, other specialized skills are needed to maintain the infrastructure of tourism, such as electrical engineering and air conditioning repair.

Moreover, a critical component of the tourism industry is the hospitality sector, which requires skilled professionals who can provide high-quality service to tourists and ensure their comfort and satisfaction.

She added that by providing training in the tourism sector, some technical vocational training can take time to train to become skills and require more interns. The pandemic has severely impacted the tourism industry, causing many businesses to shut down, and leading to human resources in the tourism industry moving to other sectors for survival, creating a shortage of skills.