The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training is studying the needs of the labour market, in order to prepare to provide free vocational and technical training to an estimated 1.5 million impoverished adolescents who cannot afford to go to university. The plan will be implemented early next year.

Thorng Samon, deputy director-general of the ministry’s Department of Technical Vocational Education and Training Management, told The Post that the government will also provide limited stipends to support the students.

“The policy is in line with the recommendations of Prime Minister Hun Sen, who previously announced that impoverished youth should be given vocational training free of charge,” he said.

Samon did not provide concrete details, saying the project was still in the planning stages.

He said it would take the demands of the labour market into account, in order to ensure that the skills provided would translate into decent employment opportunities.

“We are studying the feasibility of the skills we can provide, including what teaching staff and facilities are available and what will be required. We also need to consider which skills are in demand, and then try to match the two categories. To make sure the programme is successful and effective, we need to take many factors into consideration. We are also identifying private sector partners that will help us with our research,” he said.

“We will identify any gaps between what we can supply and what is in demand, and include necessary work in our action plan,” added.

Samon was confident that the project would be implemented in 2024.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced in January that the government would provide free vocational and technical training to about 1.5 million impoverished young people who could not afford to go to university. He also instructed the relevant ministries to study the possibility of providing monthly stipends to them.

Meas Soksensan, secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, told The Post that the action plan implementation and operation would depend on the labour ministry.

He said the finance ministry had prepared a budget, but could not confirm final numbers until the labour ministry had presented its final plans.

“For updates on the implementation of the project, please enquire with the labour ministry,” he said.

According to the vocational education department, it is providing training to 60,000 young people this year.