Nguyễn Văn Long is one of 10 vocational skills ambassadors of Việt Nam chosen by the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs. Photo vietnamnet.vn
HÀ NỘI —Though attending vocational college wasn't his first choice, Nguyễn Văn Long from the central province of Nghệ An has achieved more success than he could have ever dreamed of.
Long, 29, father of a two-year-old son, works for a Japan-invested joint venture in Hà Nội’s Bắc Thăng Long Industrial Park.
In 2014, when Long was a student at Hà Nội High-Tech Vocational College, he won the Gold Medal at the 10th ASEAN Skills Competition.
After leaving the college, he was offered a job at the Japan-invested joint venture’s technical department with a decent salary in Hà Nội.
In July, Long was one of 10 people chosen by the Ministry of Labour, Invalid and Social Affairs to become the first 'Vocational Skills Ambassadors' of Việt Nam.
This title aims to honour the value of vocational education and the development of vocational skills, contributing to increasing labour productivity and national competitiveness.
Nguyễn Chí Trường, Director of the Occupational Skills Department, at the General Directorate of Vocational Education and Training said the criteria for selecting Vietnamese vocational skills ambassadors were alumni with excellent performance in the international vocational skills test; winning a bronze medal or higher at ASEAN vocational skills exams; or winning certificates of outstanding occupational skills for the Asian and world skills exams.
Long conceded when he failed the university entrance exam in 2000, he chose studying at the Hà Nội High-Tech Vocational College as a "temporary" option to continue preparing for the next university exam.
“However, the first year in vocational school, I felt very excited. The content was not too heavy, with a lot of practice, I absorbed the knowledge well so I regularly achieved good learning results,” Long said.
"I think life has many options, many paths for each person to strive and the university gate is not the only path to success.”
Remembering the 2014 competition, he said besides training in professional skills, he also had to spend a lot of time to improve his English to talk with foreign friends.
During the two-day exam in Hà Nội, Long and the Vietnamese team secured the Gold Medal for the country.
"Sweat was dripping from my face, so I had to take off my protective shirt to clean it. I took a deep breath and recovered my composure to finish the exam,” Long recalled.
As a Vocational Skills Ambassador, Long believes the importance of vocational education is linking schools and businesses.
With vocational training, students could be assured of a future job after graduation, while firms would have high-quality human resources, he said.
Long said that foreign language skills were essential for his current job.
"I can exchange with colleagues and read foreign technical books, to research and use advanced equipment.”
“Besides, working with Japanese colleagues, I have to learn about their culture, to communicate and behave accordingly. That is how I integrate in the current working environment.”
Most impressively, Long's choice has helped change the minds of his hometown's young people and their parents about vocational training.
“Many relatives and local people call to ask me for advice on choosing the right paths for their children after finishing high school.
"I tell them that if their children have good academic performance, please choose university.
"If their academic capacity is limited, they should choose a vocational school. Vocational training costs are cheaper, while schooling time is shortened, and there are many job opportunities," Long said.
Long's younger brother Nguyễn Văn Thiết won the Gold Medal of the 11th ASEAN Skills Competition in Malaysia in 2016.
Long has also performed technical support for Vietnamese teams in ASEAN skills competitions. —VNS