An official from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) commends Cambodia’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) effort, aimed at 1.5 million young people from disadvantaged families. The programme offers four months of free training, along with financial support.

During his December 11 meeting with Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Heng Sour, ADB’s acting country director Anthony Robert Gill expressed appreciation for the initiative, according to the ministry.

“Congratulations to the government of Cambodia, and the labour ministry, for a national programme on vocational training for young people from poor and vulnerable families,” Gill was quoted as saying.

Sour highlighted the “thoughtful” consideration of the government in providing specific skills and suitable job opportunities for young people, leading to the development of vocational training initiatives and level 1 (C1) classes, which are equivalent to Grade 10.

He also briefed ADB officials on the ministry’s past efforts to ensure effective skill development for trainees, including practical internships in factories.

The minister thanked the bank for its support and expressed hope for continued collaboration on future projects. 

Government spokesman Pen Bona stated on December 12 that vocational and technical training for young people from underprivileged backgrounds is among the top six priorities set by Prime Minister Hun Manet for immediate implementation by the end of the year. 

“The programme is crucial, and the seventh mandate has committed to offering vocational training free of charge to young people from … vulnerable families, ensuring no one is left out,” he said.

Chhort Bunthong, head of the Culture, Education and Tourist Relations Department at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, regarded the ADB’s commendation as a supportive gesture towards the government’s strategic plan for providing skills to youth from impoverished families. 

He noted that the government’s strategy aligns with the country’s needs and ADB’s objectives to offer essential training for young people and society. 

“In Cambodia, we lack skilled workers. While 1.5 million people might not be sufficient, this is just the first phase of the government’s initiative in the seventh mandate,” he said.

Aligning with the government’s Pentagonal Strategy-Phase I, the training course lasts four months, is free of charge and includes a cash allowance of 280,000 riel ($68.13) per person.