Prime Minister Hun Sen has urged the Kingdom’s workforce to seek more technical training and strengthen their skills if they are to avoid job losses resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Hun Sen said the fourth industrial revolution is like a double-edged sword that will lead to job losses but will also create new employment opportunities.
And to survive the latest industrial revolution, he said, the Kingdom’s workforce would need to sharpen their skills to catch up with the latest technology that will transform their workplaces.
The prime minister raised the issue in a letter addressing the nation on Wednesday and to mark the second Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) event to be held at Koh Pich Convention Centre on Saturday.
Hun Sen said Cambodia is currently facing a shortage of skills as quality in the education system is still limited and cannot meet the needs of the rapidly changing workforce.
“The technological advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will cause job losses but also create new ones. To retain their jobs, one needs to broaden technical knowledge and strengthen skills."
“We have no choice but to boost capacity and skills in the workforce. We need to increase productivity, narrow the gap in skill discrepancies, improve job market information and employment services, and boost educational quality and vocational training to the maximum in order to mitigate the negative impact of the rapidly changing labour market,” Hun Sen stressed in the letter.
The prime minister said TVET plays a vital role in developing human resources in the Kingdom and in equipping the workforce with knowledge, capacity, skills and the professional ethics needed to adapt to the latest technological advancements.
That, he said, is the decisive factor in increasing productivity and attracting investments which will, in turn, create good jobs and bring about sustainable economic growth.
Hun Sen said the government has implemented reforms on many fronts and has allocated funds for investment in TVET programmes for the Kingdom’s workforce.
He said such programmes have been provided at both public and private institutions across the Kingdom. The goal, he said, is to enable every citizen to acquire quality skills in an equitable manner.
The prime minister said over the past five years, more than 200,000 people including trainees, students, workers and employees have received training to boost their skills to meet the demand of the changing labour market.
TVET programmes, he said, are made up of short-term and long-term courses at various institutions, enterprises, communities and through mobile units deployed by the state.
Tun Sophorn, the national coordinator for the International Labour Organisation (ILO), told The Post on Thursday that the prime minister’s remarks reflected reality.
He said a series of national consultations on vocational skills have been held recently with the future of the Cambodian job market included in the agenda.
“In the face of technological advancements, if workers do not adapt and lack the [required] skills, they will lose their jobs,” he said.
In the foreseeable future, he said, factories will be equipped with modern equipment and if workers fail to undergo the training needed to acquire the skills on their own, job losses would be inevitable.
Sophorn said environmental issues caused by climate change and subsequent natural disasters would also affect the job market in the Kingdom.
Therefore, he said, those who worked in the agricultural sector would also need to acquire new skills to adapt themselves to such changes.
For the labour market in general, Sophorn said a study by ILO in Cambodia showed that in 15-20 years to come, up to 57 per cent of the total workforce in the Kingdom will lose their jobs if they fail to adapt and catch up with new technological advancements.