Phnom Penh and Stockholm have teamed up with some NGOs to collaborate on a new project that will promote equal access to jobs and employment for people with disabilities.
The project was announced on November 23 when Magnus Saemundsson, first secretary of the Swedish embassy in Cambodia, met with Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng.
According to the ministry’s press release, the project runs from September 1, 2021, to December 31, 2023, and will promote the idea of opening the job market to all people by supporting job seekers with disabilities – particularly youth and women.
Sam Heng said at the meeting that the government of Sweden has always provided support and training in technical skills based on the data from surveys regarding skills shortages and gaps in the job market in Cambodia.
Sweden has also supported the ministry’s National Employment Agency (NEA) on its market predictions regarding job opportunities in Cambodia using computer modelling.
“The NEA job search process is carried out online to minimise gatherings in light of Covid-19. Our services are still a work in progress. Those who lost their jobs can be interviewed for new jobs,” he said. “NEA can be considered a new but successful service and it exists thanks to the ongoing support of the Swedish government.”
Sam Heng said Cambodia also has laws on the rights of persons with disabilities because it is very important to protect the vulnerable in society but many issues remain that require everyone to take part in finding a solution for people with disabilities to get better job opportunities.
The ministry’s undersecretary of state Ngoy Rith said that Sweden will continue to support the labour ministry so that they can establish at least one job centre in every province. Cambodia currently has 13 job centres and three mobile job centres.
“We also discussed an inclusive labour market project in Cambodia, focusing mainly on providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. We see that our law provides opportunities for people with disabilities to have access to employment in both public and private institutions,” he said.
Mak Monika, executive director of the Cambodian Disabled People’s Organisation, applauded these efforts to support access to employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She said they could also focus on providing job skills and easier access to workplaces for people with disabilities so that they can compete in the general labour market.
“As for the job market, I think that the private sector should encourage people with disabilities who have professional skills to apply for jobs with their firms.
“We have to consider providing more opportunities for people with disabilities who have the ability to work regularly,” she added.
According to Cambodian law, the government must recruit two per cent of people with disabilities for social work and private enterprises must recruit one per cent.
Monika said the recruitment of people with disabilities to work in government institutions is a good policy and some state institutions have provided more employment opportunities for people with disabilities than the required two per cent.