A steering committee meeting was organized on Friday, 5 June 2020, at the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) office in Vientiane capital. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Phout Simmalavong, Vice Minister of MoES, and in attendance were 24 honored participants from MoES; the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (MoLSW); Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI); and Swisscontact. Mr. Nouphan Outsa, General Director of Department of Technical Vocational and Educational Training (DTVET) from MoES, welcomed the participants and gave the objectives for the meeting which were to consult and seek the endorsement and approvals from Project Steering Committee and its members in three areas: 1) Communicate the progress of the VTESS project during its inception phase; 2) Agree on the Project Document (ProDoc) of VTESS; and 3) Agree on the VTESS project’s Annual Operating Plan and Budget for 2020. Further opening remarks were given by the chair and co-chair of the meeting: Dr. Phout Simmalavong and Mr. Christian Engler of SDC respectively. Key points that were mentioned during the opening remarks were: the ProDoc of VTESS, presentation of the Cost Benefit Analysis Report, concept paper for the ESS component, and report on IVET pathway and equivalency. The chair and co-chair also summarized the meeting and gave the closing remarks, which were: presented documents were agreed on including the ProDoc, recommendation to increase the consultation between MoLSW and VTESS regarding ESS, and Challenge Funds under Component 3 should receive approval of MoES were the result of the meeting.
The 1st steering committee meeting was held on 18 of December 2019 with the aim to: 1) Provide information on the VTESS project, the progress made so far, and forward planning until the end of the inception phase; 2) Consult and seek agreement on the Technical Implementation Agreement between MoEs and Swisscontact; and 3) Approve the forward plan of the VTESS project. The VTESS project aims to enable young adults and people from marginalized groups to find their way into the labor market. The project has a total budget of CHF 8’600’000 which will operate from 2019-2023 with a perspective of future phases if this one is a success. The project will be implemented under the Ministry of Education and Sports (Department of Technical and Vocational Education and Training) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Department of Skills Development and Employment). Swisscontact will lead the project in consortium with the Swiss academic institution - the University of Lucerne, School of Social Work. VTESS will build upon previous Swiss-funded initiatives in vocational training and also introduce an innovative employment support services component to enable disadvantaged people to better choose their career path through a ‘coaching cycle’ approach. The VTESS project will initially focus on 5 provinces and is anticipated that up to 3’000 people from disadvantaged backgrounds, in particular those who have not completed lower secondary education, will access the improved training and employment support services facilitated by the project.