The Government of Lao PDR and the Government of Switzerland have signed an agreement to support vocational education and improve the chances of employment for disadvantaged people in the Lao PDR. Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, Vice Minister of Planning and Investment, and Jean-Francois Cuenod, Regional Director for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) signed an agreement for the Vocational Training and Employment Support Services Project (VTESS).
This new programme is a continuation of a long time support Switzerland is bringing to Laos to enable young adults and people from marginalized groups to find their way into the labor market. The VTESS 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.
A signing ceremony on Friday 6th December 2019 was held at the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) was attended by government officials from the MPI, and the Ministries of Education and Sports and Labour and Social Welfare, and other line ministries alongside representatives of the SDC, and the Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation (Swisscontact), and representatives of other international organisations specialising in vocational training and employment support.
Dr. Kikeo Chanthaboury, in his keynote address, highlighted that ‘SDC has been a long-standing development partner providing total funds to the Lao PDR of approximately 209 million CHF since 2000. The Government of Lao PDR highly values the support of SDC’s projects. The signing ceremony today for the VTESS project, that is financed by SDC, demonstrates the close cooperation between the Lao Government and Swiss Government in tackling development cooperation issues in the Lao PDR.’
Jean Francois Cuenod said ‘ Switzerland is committed to contributing to inclusive and equitable development and the realization of the SDGs in the Lao PDR and the region. Through VTESS, we have an opportunity to supporting the Lao government’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of skills provision and its relevance to employers and labour market needs. This can bring employment opportunities to early school leavers and other people most in need.’
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.