Anyone who’s ever tried to recruit new staff in Cambodia understands that it can sometimes be difficult to be sure of the qualifications asserted by a candidate, and beyond that to be sure that that qualification establishes the skills that are needed for the job.
One Siem Reap startup is looking to address the issue by giving jobseekers meaningful access to the skills they need to be effective employees, and employers the confidence to recruit. As part of their strategy, they have introduced a “career passport” system for recording and validating qualifications.
“In countries like Cambodia, you can have a huge workforce, but it doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily be employable,” said Rajesh Paleth, the founder of Athene, a company that provides skills training for employees that have been specifically tailored to meet industry needs.
“That high volume has been trained in an old system of education that isn’t geared to the needs of employers. And they are coming out in a world where those needs can change from day to day thanks to the pace of technology,” he said.
The passport currently only validates courses offered by Athene. Each course and skill obtained and confirmed is recorded by means of a “visa”, providing a means for employees to quickly and easily demonstrate the skills and qualifications they have obtained.
Its main strength however lies in its link to a database where jobseekers can store copies of all of their qualifications and references, which employers can access to help them refine searches.
Paleth says they aim to offer validation for courses offered by other industry trainers in order to provide a more universal resource.
Eventually, employers will be able to directly research the database allowing them to reach out to potential candidates rather than waiting and hoping for the right candidate to reach out to them.
Paleth would also quite like to subtly subvert the system of skills acquisition, bringing it more into line with the demands of a rapidly changing world.
He wants to see a move away from heavy, vertical systems of education where teachers transfer information to students in a power structure defined by the classroom. “The most important skill you can have now is the ability to learn. The internet has exploded the old systems, but they’re reluctant to let go.”
The world has become a dynamic, mercurial place. “We’d like to create a parallel system that embraces that,” said Paleth.