Director of the General Department of Vocational Training, Duong Duc Lan, spoke to the Voice of Viet Nam (VOV) about the free flow of labour after Viet Nam officially joined the ASEAN Economic Community.
Could you please detail opportunities, as well as challenges, facing Vietnamese labourers after the country became part of the AEC?
The AEC will not only offer better job opportunities for labourers in their own country, but in many other countries. At this point, there is only one labour market, and labourers have the opportunity to find jobs in all 10 member states of the ASEAN bloc.
Nevertheless, if labourers fail to meet necessary job requirements in these countries, it will be hard for them to get a job. In addition, if labourers' skills are not recognised in countries in which they seek jobs, they will be paid as low as unskilled labourers, thus, they will be put at a disadvantage.
We are expected to generate a skilled labour force that will be able to find jobs, not only in Viet Nam, but in many other countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. These states are badly in need of skilled labourers in certain sectors.
AEC will pave the way for skilled labourers from other countries to come to work in Viet Nam. Many are worried that if Vietnamese labourers are not well prepared, they can lose jobs at home. What do you think about this concern?
This is really a challenge. If Viet Nam can't provide the labour force required for such positions, it needs to hire foreign labourers. It will be easy now for labourers from the 10 ASEAN countries to move to Viet Nam to work.
Therefore, Viet Nam needs to be pre-emptive and act on its own initiative. For years, many enterprises had to hire foreign specialists, but in recent years Vietnamese labourers have been able to replace positions filled by the foreign labour force, even in complicated technical posts.
With what we have been doing, and under the circumstance of ASEAN, I'm convinced that we should not be too worried. In reality, enterprises asserted that Vietnamese labourers could fill positions that require high techniques and high quality. What Vietnamese labourers lack are soft skills, such as the ability to work within a group to meet occupational disciplines, and foreign language competence, among others, to which we will also pay special attention.
How has Viet Nam prepared itself to train its labour force to become integrated?
Since 2011, the Party and State have continuously issued guidelines in order to strengthen the quality of human resource training, as well as to create breakthroughs in the quality of vocational training. Specifically, Viet Nam has made public the Vocational Training Strategy for the 2011-20 period, and Viet Nam Human Resource Development Planning for the 2011-20 period.
Additionally, the Prime Minister promulgated Decision 371 [dated February 28, 2013], allowing the transfer of foreign training programmes, as well as teacher's training programmes in Viet Nam. The Prime Minister's Decision 761 [dated May 23, 2014] gives the green light for the selection of certain vocational schools to receive further investment to become high-quality vocational institutes. It can be said that this period of time has seen a great number of significant documents issued by the Party and State to reinforce the quality of the general human resources and that of vocational training, in particular.
In vocational training, we have attempted to make breakthroughs in the quality of vocational training. We have singled out 120 professions, among those currently instructed at 500 vocational schools nation-wide, for intensive investment, of which 34 professions will receive additional funding to reach standards set by developed countries, through the transfer/application of foreign advanced training programmes.
At present, we have transferred the training syllabus of 12 professions from Australia. Australian partners are checking teaching and providing material facilities, as well as lecturers' qualifications, to begin pilot training courses. If successful, there will be about 1,200 Vietnamese graduates of higher vocational training by 2018, earning two degrees at the same time, one Vietnamese and one Australian.
In the coming time, we will transfer training programmes of 14 professions from Germany, a prestigious vocational training hub in the world. These efforts aim to apply advanced curricula for 34 professions by 2020 in certain vocational schools, enabling trainees to earn one Vietnamese degree and one degree from a developed country. The second degree will be recognised in all ASEAN member countries, as well as in many other countries in the world.
This will be a good opportunity for us to prepare ourselves for the AEC and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Within these playing fields, we will make all-out efforts to match member countries and to take full advantage of opportunities in integration and competition. — VNS