More quality, effective technical education and skills development are needed to deliver the talented workforce sought after by industrial investors, Prime Minister Hun Sen stated on February 27, as pundits asked the government to increase and enhance job-aligned vocational training options while improving the labour-market environment.

The premier was speaking at a graduation ceremony for more than 5,000 students of the National Technical Training Institute (NTTI).

Hun Sen stressed that demand for workers with advanced technical skills and knowledge will only keep growing, and cautioned that maintaining a broad-enough pool will be a sine-qua-non factor in successfully bringing in investors.

Cambodia will have to resolve these and linked issues before any of a number of German companies – whose representatives visited the Kingdom earlier this month, accompanying President Frank-Walter Steinmeier – potentially move ahead with plans to invest in the local automotive industry.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath remarked that the Kingdom still lacks workers with adequate education and skills across a variety of sectors of advanced technologies and industrial manufacturing, whereas numbers are “growing a lot” in service fields with stronger job markets, such as banking and finance.

He suggested vocational training programmes in the former areas to overcome these shortcomings.

When it comes to the manufacturing of electronics, machinery, vehicles and similar items, “training in Cambodia is limited, given that there’s not much of a market, and students’ interest in learning remains lacklustre”, he said, recommending a vocational element in primary and secondary education.