How four young women and men found way to change their life through skills development

Initial vocational education and training
The Skills Development Programme (SDP) continues to support the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and the Ministry of Tourism, making the Cambodian Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system to become more effective in the target provinces and ensuring that disadvantaged youth and low-skilled workers improve their employability and income through technical skills, soft skills, and entrepreneurship skills. Besides, gender equality and social inclusion are cross-cutting themes and a fundamental strategy mainstreaming into every step of the programme’s implementation. This strategy will guarantee that both young women and men have equal access to the benefit.

Chreav Phalla is from Phnong ethnic minority who recently graduate in Information Technology at the Mondulkiri Vocational Training Center. Phalla is currently working at a printing house in Sen Monorom City, Mondulkiri province. Phalla recalled that without SDP, she might’ve had to drop out of school due to her poor family condition and the inability to pay for her studies. 

According to Phalla, gaining skills from the vocational training center not only gives her a decent job and increased income but also turns her out to be a role model for her family, because, among all of her siblings, she was the only one who pursue the education to the end. 

"This scholarship has helped me a lot. If I did not get this scholarship, I would probably have dropped out of school at grade 12 because I could not afford to pay school. Since I am successful, graduating and getting a job, now I see that my mother encouraged my two younger siblings to go to school as well. Before, she just wanted them to stop. "
Chreav Phalla, graduate in Information Technology

Like Phalla, Lon Seak Hong is a fresh graduate from a vocational training center in Mondulkiri province. After graduating from High School in 2019, Seak Hong decided to enroll in the in-house wiring course at the center because he could not afford to continue his studies at a private school that was also far from home. 

Noting that the center also provides practical training by assigning students for internships, which gives students both theoretical and practical experiences, the 22-year-old said that he enjoys studying electrical skills because after graduating, he has got a lot of work. 

"At that time, I knew the center through my friends, so I decided to enroll in vocational training because it costs a lot of money to study in Phnom Penh. I currently do not work for any company. I am an electrician whose job is walking from house to house. I like that job; it is not tiring and earns a decent income. I can earn 50,000 Riels to 100,000 Riels per service."
Lon Seak Hong, graduate from a vocational training center

Sok Heng is another graduate majoring in in-house wiring at the Mondulkiri Vocational Training Center while she is still in high school. The 18-year-old explained that the reason she learns electrical skills while she is in 11th grade is that she wants to learn more skills and did not want to waste time and it is free too. It has been a year since Sok Heng enrolled at the vocational training center, as this skill only takes two years. Although she has only been studying for a year, she has enough to work because she has been undergoing an internship provided by the school. For Sok Heng, studying electricity not only earns knowledge, skills, and income but also helps the community in which she lives. Nowadays, Sok Heng is like an electrician in the family and the village, because when there is an electrical problem, they always look for Sok Heng for help. 

Sok Heng will graduate at the same time as her high school, which will be completed by the end of this year. Sok Heng said that after graduation, she is able to earn money and keep little savings to support her study at university. 

"Ever since I went to the center when there was a problem, they always come to me. When they first see me as a woman working in the field of electricity, they said they used to see the man. Now seeing a woman wiring is strange. I told them that now you do not have to wait for men to do it, sometimes women can do more than men."
Sok Heng, graduate majoring in in-house wiring

Another young man, Kron Phors is also an in-house wiring trainee at a vocational training center in Mondulkiri province. The Punong origin left his higher secondary school in grade 10. At that time, the young man did not know what to do because he did not have any skills. After seeing the announcement of the center, Phors decided to apply for a scholarship in in-house wiring. For the 22-year-old, studying here seems to make him look like a new person, as he had never expected to learn this electrical skill before. 

The young Punong will graduate with a two-year electrical education soon since he is halfway now. In addition to gaining knowledge from the school, Phors also obtained work experience through internships abundantly provided by the center.  Through the acquisition of skills and previous work experience, Phors is extremely happy to obtain a specific skill that helps him to have a better job in the future. 

"I never thought I could have such skills if I do not come here, I do not know what to do because I don’t have knowledge or skill. I would like to thank the center for allowing me to study electrical skills. Young people who have a difficult life or drop out of school should learn any skills so that they can easily find a job and earn money."
Kron Phors, in-house wiring trainee at a vocational training center

The Skills Development Programme (SDP) is a project of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). The SDP phase 2 (2020 to 2024) is implemented by Swisscontact in a consortium with INBAS and in collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) and the Ministry of Tourism (MoT). The programme works closely with the government at the national and the provincial levels and with partners such as the National Employment Agency, public and non-governmental training providers as well as companies and small enterprises in the hospitality and other sectors. In total, around 12,000 beneficiaries and more than 900 trainers, staff and management of schools and companies mainly from Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Kratie, Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri will be directly and indirectly reached by SDP skill training interventions in phase 2. 

Initial vocational education and training, Labour market insertion, Sustainable tourism
Skills Development Programme
The overall goal of the Skills Development Programme (SDP) is for disadvantaged young women and men and low-skilled workers in five rural provinces of Cambodia (Preah Vihear, Stung Treng, Kratie, Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri) to gain access to decent employment and increased income.