Cambodia and the UK have agreed to further expand cooperation in the field of employment and vocational training, with the latter also stating its intentions to bring in experts to provide technical training due to its potential for high demand.

Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Samheng and British ambassador to Cambodia Dominic Williams discussed this in a recent meeting, according to the ministry.

Samheng said garment exports to the UK were a good source of employment, especially for Cambodian women as the UK continued to focus on jobs for women in its related initiatives in Cambodia.

“As for Technical and Vocational Education and Training [TVET], Cambodia does its best to meet the need. Cambodia right now lacks skilled labour so the government has a special four month technical and vocational training programme for five million poor youths to implement from 2023,” he said.

Williams also said that the UK will continue to promote TVET training in Cambodia. He suggested that the Cambodian side establish a TVET network during the 19th World Education Forum to be held on May 7-10 at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London.

Williams also revealed a project for the development of advanced e-skills in Cambodia, because in the UK there are many experts available in the IT field.

“The ambassador said the embassy intends to attract British experts to do skills training programmes in Cambodia,” said the ministry.

Samheng said his ministry could issue work permits under its own quota for British staff who come to work in Cambodia in this capacity and would also prioritise coordination with senior experts from the UK side.

The ministry cited the ambassador as saying that the UK government plans to introduce a new Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), effective after April of this year.

“Although Cambodia has emerged from being one of the poorest countries, the UK will still provide preferential treatment to Cambodia through the DCTS,” said the envoy.

Through this preferential trade status, Cambodia has largely benefited by exporting goods to the UK such as clothing, shoes, bags, bicycles and some agricultural products without any tariff barriers, while cars, machinery, electrical equipment, electronics and so forth are imported by the Kingdom.

Cambodia and the UK also plan to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on establishing a trade forum and other joint ventures in the near future to promote goods exchanges and investment between the two countries.

In the wake of the Covid-19 downturn, trade volume between Cambodia and the UK has continued to increase. In 2022, bilateral trade volume reached over $977 million, an increase of 23.9 per cent over the previous year.