The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in cooperation with a number of organisations launched a new e-waste management project yesterday in Cambodia in a bid to recycle the country’s burgeoning electronic waste and to provide job opportunities, as Hurleypalmerflatt opened an office in Cambodia to provide jobs for skilled electrical engineers in an effort to capitalise on a “second wave” of growth in technology industries.
The UNIDO project is funded by the Republic of Korea through the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the East Asia Climate Partnership (EACP) and Samsung Electronics with total cost of US$1,350,000, while Hurleypalmerflatt is establishing its engineering consulting firm in the Kingdom.
Pich Sophoan, secretary of state for the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said that in the past few years, Cambodia’s economy has grown considerably, but in the meantime an increase in the urbanisation of Cambodia’s population is leading to an increased demand for electronic items.
Electronic tools are becoming useless after they are used, but they can be fixed and contribute to the reduction of Cambodia’s environmental impact, not to mention allow for the creation of jobs, as Cambodia’s tech industry blooms, he said.
“In response to this issue, I believe that only through the acceptance of proper technology, training, management, and support can we make these items reusable,” Pich said.
Regional Director of Hurleypalmerflatt, Mark Simpson said: “Asia is where it’s all happening right now. There is a can-do attitude among young people and a hunger for success. There are huge opportunities for young people in engineering too.”
Chin Pen Chua, UNIDO representative and director of the regional office in Thailand said, the project is focused on the addressing the unemployment in the youth sector of Cambodia.
“Through this project, we aim to address the need for strengthening the capacities of the youth sector through skills training, skills transfer in the electronic industry, curriculum development, and entrepreneurship development within the context of e-waste management,” Chin said.
Many investors, particularly from the electronic industry were interested in investing in Cambodia, but were faced with a labour shortage due to the lack trained workers, yet the UNIDO program will focus on poor youths and give them the skills necessary to rehabilitate the equipment, Pich said.
“In Cambodia, mission critical engineering is still in its infancy, but that is beginning to change. We are seeing some advanced building coming forward in Cambodia that demand equally high levels of engineering,” Simpson said, adding that Hurleypalmerflatt’s focus of ‘mission critical engineering’, those systems which cannot and should not fail, is needed in Cambodia as much as the jobs the company will provide.
“Our target is to train youths who have no skills or jobs to enable them to get one,” Pich said, adding: “The jobs will involve the skills of an electrician.”
The UNIDO program will also consider providing micro-credit for those who finish the training course.
“We should implement a micro-credit scheme, so they can have both the abilities and the capital to open a small businesses in their homes and villages,” he said.