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The young Cambodians learning Japanese to widen their career prospects

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Trainees practice Japanese language at the Reach Samnang Japanese Centre. Vandy Muong

The young Cambodians learning Japanese to widen their career prospects

Recruitment agency is equipping Cambodians with the broad range of skills they need to find higher paying jobs in Japan.

Japan’s service, manufacturing and agricultural sectors are looking for Cambodian workers and those with the right skill set – including a grasp of the Japanese language – can find work in the country, where wages and living standards are significantly higher.

At its headquarters in Tuol Kork, Axel Asia Human Resources is providing training and placement services for Cambodians seeking work in Japan, as well as instruction on Japanese language, law and culture.

Sou Abdol Razak, the company’s general affairs manager, saidthe company was licensed by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training in 2014 and has already trained and placed 300 Cambodians in jobs in Japan. He said the four to six month training programs aim to provide skills for employment in Japan’s agricultural, food production and garment sectors, as well as in nursing homes.

“Our company wants to encourage Cambodian people to acquire different skills and experiences in Japan then come back to work in Cambodia,” he said. “We provide free training until they are selected for a job in Japan, then we charge for a document package, ranging from $1,500 a year to $3,700 for three years.”

An instructor provides lessons on Japanese language.
An instructor provides lessons on Japanese language. Vandy Muong

The cost of the package – which covers visas, residency permits and the company’s fees – may seem steep by Cambodian standards, but Abdol Razak points out that course graduates typically earn between $1,000 and $1,200 per month in Japan. Some jobs pay as high as $1,500 per month.

Currently about 100 Cambodians are enrolled in the training courses and waiting to be matched to high-paying jobs in Japan. Instruction is provided by Japanese and Cambodian instructors and prepares trainees for the high level of standards required by Japanese employers.

“Classes run from 8am to 5pm and we provide extra lessons for slower learners with both Cambodian and Japanese teachers,” he added.

Axel Asia Human Resources also operates the Reach Samnang Japanese Centre, which provides free instruction to trainees on Japanese language, law and culture.

Vuth Bunny, a 20-year-old from Kratie province, who is training to prepare for work in Japan.
Vuth Bunny, a 20-year-old from Kratie province, who is training to prepare for work in Japan. Vandy Muong

Chhourn Sophanit, 27, one of the centre’s students, said she graduated from university with a degree in Khmer literature and wanted to be a teacher, but found it challenging to find a decent paying job. Now she is enrolled in a three-month training program at Axel Asia, and has already been selected by a Japanese company for a job once she completes the course.

“I was excited about the chance to work in Japan after my friend told me about the opportunities,” she said, adding that she is also keen to learn the Japanese language. “I don’t just want to study about Japan, I want to experience it.”

Vuth Bunny, 20, said she learned about opportunities for work in Japan from a friend and her mother has agreed to let her go work there. With only high school level education available in her home province, Kratie, she feels privileged to have a chance to learn new skills and a second language.

She is learning Japanese and the nuances of Japanese culture as she hopes to find work as a caregiver in a nursing home in Japan.

“It’s good for me to learn Japanese and understand how to adapt myself to life in Japan if I am selected to work there after training,” Bunny said.

But it also requires commitment.

“Nursing home caregivers require a longer training program than other professions,” she said, adding that the training can take up to one year to complete.

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