HCM CITY — Unemployment in rural areas, mainly caused by the reduction of farmland, has not declined, despite the Government's effort to offer more vocational training programmes.
Youth in Ha Noi's Thach That District train in woodworking. Improper training is one of the main reasons for high unemployment in rural regions. — VNA/VNS Photo Quy Trung
Improper training is one of the main reasons for the high unemployment rate in rural regions, according to experts.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs reported that high unemployment in urban areas and lack of work in rural regions had become characteristic of the Vietnamese labour market.
According to the ministry's statistics, the percentage of people of working age who lack jobs was 3.15 per cent for the first nine months of the year, including 1.72 per cent for urban areas and 3.74 per cent in the rural region.
The 2010 figures were 2.04 per cent for urban areas and 5.47 per cent for rural areas, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
The rural unemployment rate increased by 0.02 per cent to 2.27 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009. The rate for the first nine months of this year was 1.63 per cent.
More than 17,000ha of farmland have been converted to serve industrial and urban development each year in recent years, according to statistics from MoLISA's Institute of Settlement Research (ISR).
In a number of provinces, more farmland will be converted according to official planning until 2020.
An ISR research said each converted ha of farmland made 14 farmers redundant.
Another institute survey showed that the number of farmers who had become hired workers had increased to 17 per cent from 10 per cent after their land was converted in some suburban areas in the Song Hong (Red River) Delta. But the report said the number was much higher in reality.
One of the major hurdles for rural workers is their poor education and low professional skills. As a result, a large number of rural migrants who have resettled in urban areas are unable to get high-quality jobs.
With an aim to reduce the unemployment rate in the agriculture sector from 52 per cent to 30-35 per cent, a programme on providing vocational training to rural workers was carried out in the last year and a half.
About 1 million people from rural areas have been trained each year since the programme started.
The programme, which was designed during the 2010-20 period, aims to train 600,000 people in non-agricultural jobs, 300,000 in agricultural works, and the rest as local officials each year.
The project is expected to increase the number of trained rural workers to 50 per cent by 2020 from the current 20 per cent.
More than 267,000 rural workers have been trained under the programme in the first half of this year, fulfilling 53 per cent of the year's target.
The trend for pursuing non-agricultural jobs is increasing, as only 48 per cent have chosen to train in agriculture.
Nearly 52 per cent of labourers have chosen training in non-agricultural fields, such as electronics, industrial garments, carpentry and welding, which have not been developed in their localities.
The programme, however, has not been effective as not all the trained workers have found proper jobs, reported Lao Dong (Labour).
A number of people who were trained in non-agricultural jobs have returned to their previous jobs as farmers or are still unemployed, as those jobs are not provided in their localities.
The head of MoLISA's Department of Co-operatives and Rural Development, Tang Minh Loc, said training for rural workers focused on the non-agriculture sector.
The personnel output of the training, however, faces challenges, as many of the trained people cannot find proper jobs.
He said non-agricultural training that prepared a workforce for jobs in the future was not practical.
Experts said the training structure that focused on non-agricultural jobs was not proper at this moment, as there were many agricultural jobs which demand skilful workers.
The Viet Nam Farmers Association said most farmers were not equipped with professional skills and worked mostly according to their experience.
Their skills and cultivation techniques were outdated, which has resulted in low productivity.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has also encouraged more vocational training in agriculture, as a large number of jobs in this field required skilful workers to produce high-quality products for exports.
The supply of the workforce has not met demand, according to the ministry, and agriculture still plays a major part in the country's production.
MoLISA has planned to expand the information system on the labour market to help trained workers find proper jobs. More mobile job-exchange sessions will be held in localities, according to the ministry.
Those sessions, which have been held frequently in urban and industrial zones, will be brought to rural areas where a large number of workers need information about job opportunities. — VNS