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Survey: 19% of TVET graduates end up in wrong jobs

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Electricians work on an electric pole in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Survey: 19% of TVET graduates end up in wrong jobs

A survey found that trainees of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at levels 1-4 held jobs as senior technicians (over 45 per cent) and managers (over 17 per cent), while 19 per cent of the trainees have ended up going into a line of work that was irrelevant to the skills they were trained in.

The findings were presented at a national education workshop on the results of surveying outcomes for TVET graduates from levels 1-4 in four engineering, electricity, mechanics and manufacturing by the Cambodian Qualifications Framework (CQF), held in Phnom Penh on August 4.

The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said skill measurement surveys (SMS) were conducted to measure the capacities of TVET graduates against national standards in the present and expected standards in the future.

A summary of the 2016-2020 SMS found that 17.48 per cent of the graduates became managers and specialists, 45 per cent became technicians and 13.18 per cent mechanics.

Another 5.10 per cent of those surveyed became entrepreneurs or business owners, while 19.22 per cent had jobs irrelevant to their training.

These findings were derived from the responses given by 1,275 graduates of TVET and 244 respondents in industry (firms/enterprises), including 63 technicians and professionals.

The ministry said in its report summary on August 4 that the scope of study was limited to 17 TVET institutions in 13 different provinces of Cambodia within the four priority industrial sectors and within 11 occupations in those sectors, in response to the levels of the CQF that match each priority area.

“Self-assessment of the graduates matches the assessments of the industry and the expected standards as defined in the competency standards of the CQF, and some skills gap study programmes were also defined on specific skills in these four priority areas,” the ministry said.

Thorng Samon, deputy head of the ministry's General Department of Vocational Training, said the SMS levels 1-4 aimed to reflect the actual job situation, including work productivity of the graduates and retroactivity of employers.

“We study this to form the basis for preparing human resource development plans more effectively and to meet the needs of the labour market in the present and the future locally and regionally,” he added.

Ministry secretary of state Pich Sophorn said that at present, the problems of skills in Cambodia remained a challenge such as employees and workers lacking opportunities to attend TVET courses.

He added that enrolment in TVET was still low and the number of students had yet to reflect the demand for skilled labour or its supply in Cambodia, as youths had received little training and are encountering the challenges related to the completion of primary and secondary education and their low-quality educations did not match the labour skills that employers need.

“The private sector and trade unions have been less involved in TVET governance. In addition to technical skills, employers also find it difficult to find workers with both communication and foreign language skills,” he said.

“These findings will be helpful in addressing the challenges for improving the 1-4 level curriculum of the CQF for TVET in order to produce skilled labourers to meet the needs of the labour market.”

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