The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on Thursday approved $40 million in funding for projects that are expected to benefit approximately 33,000 Cambodians.

They will receive improved training and labour market services, according to a May 24 World Bank press release.

The credit, from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), aims to enhance the quality and relevance of job-related skills among the country’s workforce, thus increasing the employability and earnings of workers. 

It will support the Skills for Better Jobs Project, which seeks to strengthen technical and vocational education and training, improve career guidance and job search support, and better engage employers when developing training programmes. 

“Cambodia’s economy and employment market have grown rapidly in recent decades as macroeconomic stability, openness to trade, and preferential access to Western markets helped the country attract overseas investment,” according to the press release. 

“However, the quality of jobs is low: 89 per cent of jobs in the Kingdom are low-skilled and a large share are informal,” it added.

The five-year Skills for Better Jobs Project is designed to help Cambodia’s economy diversify into sectors that require more medium-skilled occupations. It will be implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s Skills Development Fund.

Maryam Salim, World Bank country manager for Cambodia, said in the press release that as Cambodia aims to move up value chains and diversify its production, upskilling its current and upcoming workforce will be key to attracting more and better foreign direct investment, as well as responding to employer needs.

“Technical skills training, when demand-responsive and supplemented with training in complementary skills, such as digital and behavioral skills, can support Cambodia in achieving its objectives,” she explained.

The key expected outcomes of the project include greater employer satisfaction with the skills of training-programme graduates and an increase in the share of graduates who find jobs paying more than the national median wage.

Increasing industry's voice in training design and delivery, and facilitating dialogue and collaboration between training institutions and employers and an improved labour market information system, as well as an increase in the number of individuals receiving job counselling and career guidance are expected to result from the project.