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High school grads shun university, choose vocational jobs as demand rises

Update: November, 19/2016 - 09:00
Students at Lilama 2 Technical & Technology College in Đồng Nai Province practise using the latest technologies based on German standards. — VNS Photo Thu Hằng
Viet Nam News

Thu Hằng

HCM CITY — Despite receiving high scores on the universitiy entrance exam this year, Nguyễn Đình Tuấn decided to choose a more practical career by studying automobile engineering at a vocational college

A native from the central province of Quảng Ngãi, Tuấn enrolled in Cao Thắng Technical College in HCM City, hoping to have a stable career soon after graduation.

He made his decision based on careful study of the labour market and the availability of jobs that are in high demand.

His parents, who supported his decision, said that technical training would prepare him for a rewarding career after graduation.

This year, around 600 high school students who could have enrolled in university instead chose the automobile engineering technology training programme, according to Lê Xuân Lâm, deputy rector of the college, which is managed by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The school’s enrollment exceeded its target of 3,000 students this year, with many of them receiving scores above the minimum for the university entrance exam.

Automobile engineering technicians are in high demand, with monthly salaries ranging from VNĐ7-8 million (US$315-360) for new graduates, according to Nguyễn Thời Trung, deputy head of the programme.

This school year, enrollment also increased at Lilama 2 Technical & Technology College, thanks to modern facilities and dual vocational training programmes that combine classes in vocational schools with on-the-job training in companies.

"High school graduates have opportunities to enhance their employability by demand-driven vocational training and find a well-paid job after completing dual vocational training programmes," said Nguyễn Khánh Cường, rector of the college, which is located in Đồng Nai Province and is managed by the Ministry of Construction.

Every year, around 30 companies hold a job fair to recruit new graduates, but discover that most of the students have been hired by companies where they worked as interns, according to Lê Tuyên Giáo, deputy head of the mechanics faculty.

To fill the shortage of trained workers, many companies are willing to pay tuition for excellent students to pursue the companies’ demand-driven vocational training.

Since 2013, Bosch, for instance, has selected 25 high school graduates for a free three-year course taught in the mechanics faculty.

Students learn theory at LILAMA 2 College and pursue practical training on machines at the company’s technical industrial apprenticeship centre, which uses German vocational training standards.

After graduation, the trainees are awarded dual certificates as well as job placements at Bosch.

High school graduates are aware that occupation-related practical skills are not commonly offered at training programmes at most universities.

Many firms in Đồng Nai Province and neighbouring provinces such as Bình Dương and Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu are in dire need of well-trained workers, but the labour market cannot meet their demand.

A recent vocational training survey conducted by GIC/AHK Vietnam found that German companies in Việt Nam in the next few years will have high demand for competent workers with vocational training and those with university degrees.

Ninety-six per cent of the 26 polled companies said they needed to hire new staff and train them in the next few years. And more than 33 per cent of the companies said the labour market had failed to meet their need for well-trained workers.

Nearly 80 per cent of companies would like to offer internships next year, with 78 per cent of them willing to pay the interns, according to the survey. 

International-standard courses

Many vocational schools have invested in modern equipment and machinery, which has allowed students to use the latest technologies.

Cao Thắng Technical College, for example, has spent nearly VNĐ10 billion (US$448,430) to purchase new machines.

"Students often have internships at companies that are willing to employ them after graduation," said Lê Xuân Lâm, deputy rector of the college.

Many foreign and local companies have signed contracts with the college to train their staff.

LILAMA 2 is also well equipped with new machinery and technology provided by Germany and France.

The school’s highly skilled teachers and trainers have extensive knowledge about the tailored training programmes based on German standards.

Điểu Quý, a junior in the mechanics faculty at LILAMA 2 College, said that he was trained in practical skills with the latest technologies at the school’s state-of-the-art training workshops.

“I think training in mechanics offers good career prospects as demand for skilled mechanics technicians remains unmet,” Quý said. 

The demand for skilled workers is increasing steadily as the country’s economy continues to grow and integrates with the regional and world economy,  according to Cường, the rector of LILAMA 2.

Experts said that Việt Nam was facing a shortage of skilled workers in many areas, leading to employment gaps that could not be filled overnight.

The Government has put vocational skills training at the heart of its development goals.

Its plan is that by 2020 trained skilled workers will make up 55 per cent of the labour force, compared to the current figure of nearly 30 per cent.

Challenges

According to a World Bank report, the quality of labour in Việt Nam received only 3.79 points on a scale of 10, ranking 11th out of 12 Asian countries surveyed.

South Korea’s score was 6.91; India’s 5.76; Malaysia’s 5.59; and Thailand’s 4.94.

The low quality of labour was one of the main reasons for weakened competitiveness of Việt Nam’s economy.

The gap between training supply and market demand as well as inadequate education has led to a high rate of unemployment among recent graduates.

In the second quarter of this year, more than 1 million people of working age were unemployed, an increase of 16,400 compared to the previous quarter, according to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs.

Of that figure, a total of 286,100 people with bachelor’s degrees and above were unable to find jobs.

Only 20.6 per cent of the labour force has received vocational, college or university training, while the majority are manual workers. — VNS

 

 

B2_ThuHang

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