Teens Gain Life-Changing Job Skills

Swiss agency helps with technical training courses

PHNOM PENH--Four teenagers in Mondulkiri province are gaining information technology and electrical skills through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program.

The program is run in collaboration with the Skills Development Program (SDP)  a project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The collaboration is one of the government's key national development programs aimed at increasing income and employment opportunities for young people, contributing to poverty reduction and boosting the local economy.

Through the SDP, many poor and vulnerable young people are trained in a variety of skills that enable them to find jobs and decent incomes.

Chrav Phalla is an indigenous Punong who recently graduated with an associate degree in information technology at the Mondulkiri Vocational Training Center. Phalla is currently working at a printing house in Sen Monorom City, Mondulkiri province.

She said that without SDP, she might have had to drop out of school due to her poor family circumstances and inability to pay for her studies.

“This scholarship has helped me a lot. If I did not get this scholarship, I would probably have dropped out of 12th grade because I could not afford to pay school fees,” Phalla said.

Skills gained from the vocational center not only give her a job and a decent income, she has also become a role model for her family. Of all her siblings, she was the only one who pursued education to the end.

“Since I am successful now, graduating and getting a job, now I see that my mother encouraged my two younger siblings to go to school as well. Before, she just wanted them to stop,” she added.

Like Phalla, Lun Seak Hong, 22, has just graduated from a vocational training center in Mondulkiri province. After the graduating from high school in 2019, Seak Hong decided to apply for a scholarship for electrical engineering at a vocational training center because he could not afford to go to continue his education at a school in Phnom Penh which was far from home.

“At that time, I knew the center through my friends, so I applied because it costs a lot of money to go to school in Phnom Penh,” Seak Hong said.

The center also provides practical training by sending students for internships, which gives students both theoretical and practical experience. Seak Hong said that he enjoys studying electrical skills because since graduating, he has got a lot of work.

“I currently do not work for any company. I am an electrician whose job is walking from house to house. I really like that job; it is not tiring and earns a decent income. I can earn 50,000 riel to 100,000 riel per service,” he says.

Sok Heng is majoring in electrical engineering at the Mondulkiri Vocational Training Center while she is still in high school. The 18-year-old said she learns electrical skills while she is in 11th grade is because she wants to learn more skills and it is free.

It has been a year since Sok Heng enrolled at the​​ two-year courser. Although she has only been studying for a year, she is able to work because she has been undergoing an internship provided by the school.

For Sok Heng, studying electricity not only earns knowledge, skills and income, but also helps the community in which she lives. Nowadays, Sok Heng is like an electrician in the family and in the village, because when there is an electrical problem, they always look for Sok Heng for help.

“Ever since I went to the center when there was a problem, they always come to me. When they first see me as a woman working in the field of electricity, they said they were used to seeing a man.

“Seeing woman working like that was strange. I told them that now you do not have to wait for men to do it, sometimes women can do more than men,” she said.

Sok Heng will graduate in electrical engineering at the same time as graduating from high school, which will be at the end of this year. After graduation, she will choose the electrical major.

Kron Phors is majoring in electrical engineering at the training center. The Punong originally dropped out of school when he was in 10th grade. At that time, he did not know what to do because he did not have any skills.

After seeing an advertisement for the center, Phors, 22, decided to apply for a scholarship to study electrical engineering, He reckons studying there makes him look like a new person. He had never expected to learn this skill.

“I never thought I could have such skills, if I had not come here, I do not know what I would have done, because I didn’t have any knowledge or skill,” he said.

He will graduate with a two-year electrical qualification soon. He has also obtained work experience through internships provided by the center. Phors is extremely happy to obtain a skill that will help him to get a better job in the future.

“I would like to thank the center for giving me the opportunity to study electrical skills. Young people who have a difficult life or drop out of school should learn any skills so that they can easily find a job and earn money,” Phors said.

The second phase of the SDP (2020-2024) is being implemented by Swisscontact and The Institute for Vocational Training, Labour Market and Social Policy in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Tourism.

The program carries out activities in collaboration with national and sub-national administrations, the National Employment Agency, public and private training providers, as well as companies and small enterprises in the hospitality and other sectors

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