Real estate developer Shukaku Inc has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with education and training-focused NGO Don Bosco Foundation, worth more than $69,000.
Under the MoU, Shukaku would sponsor 20, two-year scholarships for Don Bosco students as well as develop a brand-new computer lab.
Both parties called the signing of the agreement the beginning of a fruitful long-term partnership.
Shukaku managing director, Michelle Lau, said on Tuesday that the partnership is “the first of many to come” under the company’s new “Sustainable Growth Initiative” that focuses on empowering marginalised community members through long-term, income-generation initiatives.
In an email to Post Property, Lau explained that the 20 scholarships Shukaku are offering to Don Bosco students are designed to address current market gaps they are witnessing in the construction sector in Phnom Penh.
“We discussed these sponsorships extensively with Don Bosco to ensure that what we are offering is relevant to the community, but also practical for the students, as well as their future employers. Being a real-estate developer ourselves, we know what type of talent the industry is currently lacking in,” she said.
The public-private partnership model agreement between Shukaku and Don Bosco can be seen as a valuable contribution to tackling the often cited mismatch between graduates’ skills and actual requirements in the Cambodian labour market.
At the event, Father Roel Soto, country representative of Don Bosco in Cambodia, confirmed that vocational skills are publicly and normally perceived as not providing lucrative employment opportunities like university degrees.
He added that this was not the case and the labour market greatly rewarded skilled labourers, which are in high demand.
“We are grateful to Shukaku in aiding us in our efforts to fight social exclusion and poverty though practical education and skill-building,” he said, adding “these scholarships will equip young Cambodians with real-life-proof technical skills and knowledge.”
As far as testing technical skills in “real-life”, Shukaku’s Lau is very optimistic for the future of the 20 scholarship students, who will finish with an associate degree.
“Selected students will be offered internship and/or employment opportunities at Shukaku or at Shukaku’s associate companies,” she said.