Project misses vocational training targets
Under the Government's vocational training project through 2020, the target for this year is to train 500,000 rural labourers. However, slow progress has meant only 27 per cent of the target has been met. Viet Nam News spoke to representatives of foreign and domestic agencies about the issue.
How likely is it that the Government targets will be achieved?
|Mac Van Tien
Mac Van Tien, director of National Institute for Vocational Training under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs
According to the project approved by the Prime Minister Decision 1956/QD- TTg, about 1 million workers will be trained every year, of which 100,000 Government employees in communes are trained or retrained.
Over the past two years, central and local authorities have focused on building mechanisms and financial policies, therefore the number of vocationally trained agricultural workers falls short of the target, but the total figure will be met by 2020.
From 2010 to 2011, about 800,000 people were trained, of which, 46 per cent learned agricultural skills and 54 per cent non-agricultural skills. This shows the vocational training structure in rural areas has been changing positively, the number of rural workers in non-agricultural sectors increased from 51 per cent in 2010 to 56 per cent in 2011. The rate of rural workers getting jobs after training stands at over 70 per cent.
Leu Vu Dieu, vice chairman of the Viet Nam Farmers' Association
The project has brought initial important results such as 70 per cent of farmers being employed after gaining vocational skills, while vocational schools facilities have improved considerably. Farmers are very excited to take part in the programme, many of them have successfully created jobs for themselves and others, while their income has increased appreciably due to them applying their skills and knowledge acquired to expand production scale.
However, it is true that the modest results are putting pressure on this year's target and could negatively impact the overall progress of the project until 2020.
Sauli Hurri, International Labour Office (ILO)'s Programme Officer of Enterprise Development and Green Jobs
The Government has set very ambitious targets. Of course, it is important to meet the numbers, but for me and the ILO, the more important thing is to ensure the training is useful. For us, it makes no sense if after completing training and gaining new skills, there are no employers or means to start your own business. And even though there are some companies in the area, they are having to scale down because of the economic downturn. So it is difficult for both young people and those with experience to find jobs at the moment.
What obstacles are threatening the completion of the project?
Nguyen Ngoc Phi, Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs
There are two reasons why the training process is not meeting its target. First, the economic downturn meant this year's funding approval was delayed and didn't arrive until June. That is why many localities are not fully equipped and it has hindered progress. Second, many localities still have difficulty implementing the strategy. There's a problem with farmers applying for training courses only to receive the allowance, without actually attending the courses. With this lesson learned, we need to gradually implement the strategy, but with greater quality and stability. We cannot focus solely on hitting the target figures while ignoring the quality.
Mac Van Tien: The vocational training for rural workers is one of six projects in the National Target Programme of Employment and Vocational Training, so capital allocation from the State budget must be carefully considered.
Training for rural workers must be linked to market demand and this requires the local authorities to build specific economic development plans, including human resources planning for each industry or sector. But in fact, many localities have no plans. In other words, they don't create jobs for rural labourers after the training.
Farmers often want their children to study in colleges and universities after finishing high schools rather than pursuing vocational courses.
Apprenticeship is very much a last resort.
The co-ordination among agencies needs to be further tightened as currently, many vocational training facilities don't actively participate in the project.
Leu Vu Dieu: There are many reasons for the modest results. But the main issue is the time lost due to the funding delay.
|Leu Vu Dieu
In general, vocational training institutes often receive funds in the second and third quarters of each year and the funds are often inadequate. From 2010 to 2012, the Government has invested only VND3.86 trillion (US$183.8 million) in the project, accounting for 14 per cent of the plan for the 2010-20 period.
In addition, localities have not attached vocational training programmes with their socio-economic development plans and enterprises' labour demands. Therefore, the training quality has not met employers requirements or those of the labour market in general.
What should the central and local authorities do to ensure effective implementation of the project?
|Nguyen Ngoc Phi
Nguyen Ngoc Phi: Localities must have a plan for its production areas. They must be able to forecast the possibility of farmers getting employed after training completion, bearing in mind the market demand for skill-sets. To ensure that learners attend the training courses and achieve results, we will only give allowances to those who have attained training certificates. That means management must be tightened so that
applying without attending training is no longer possible.
The role of businesses in this process is also very important. Local employers can make plans to recruit people from training schools, while employers with the capacity to train can organise courses by registering with local authorities.
Mac Van Tien: Training must be associated with local economic development planning. The localities should announce plans for socio-economic development of specific industries and sectors so that enterprises will work out human resource plans. This will help local authorities co-operate with businesses to create jobs for rural employees.
Vocational training facilities should have sufficient resources; and should design flexible training programmes.
Furthermore, vocational training for rural workers should be given increased publicity to increase awareness of the programmes.
Leu Vu Dieu: Localities should offer a wider seletion of courses. The skills taught must be those that farmers want to learn and that the labour market is short of; and they must be suitable to their living conditions and traditional activities.
The Government should have financial support policies to guarantee that after training, all rural workers can seek jobs and have a stable income. Farmers should be better informed of the Government's vocational training policies, as this is likely to increase participation.
Sauli Hurri: Viet Nam should focus on youth, as currently young people don't want to work with their families in agriculture, they prefer to seek other opportunities to work in cities.
However, in the cities, young people without revelant skills end up working in dead-end jobs just to survive. In normal situations, it is difficult for young people to find employment and this has been compounded by the economic downturn, leaving them vulnerable.
Employers and job seekers should hold dialogues to define what skill sets are being improved, which skills will make young people employable. That helps both job seekers, and crucially, enterprises as they will gain skilled labour forces.
Besides this, Viet Nam should focus on developing its tourism sector, which has a significant growth rate. Not only does it help companies that work directly with tourists but also boosts secondary industries. You have construction, food and beverage, transport, all kinds of handicraft and souvenirs - these are labour-intensive sectors which will provide lots of jobs. — VNS