Singkham's Journey

Initial vocational education and training
Singkham Santivong is in charge of administration and organization at the Integrated Vocational Education Training (IVET) School, Oudomxay Province. 

The school has collaborated with several organizations and businesses in the province and has always worked closely with the provincial Chamber of Commerce–particularly for the development of a database for businesses that collaborate with the school for internships and graduate employment. “It is challenging to mobilize the businesses, but it is very rewarding once you get them on board. Developing and keeping a good working relationship with them is very important. It helps us to match trainees and businesses to find internship places and maybe even job opportunities. It’s important that the trainees can apply what they learned at the school and get work experience,” he explained.

The IVET School collaborates with Swisscontact’s Vocational Training and Employment Support Services (VTESS) project for which Singkham is assigned as the school’s Project Coordinator. Singkham explained that working with any project presents numerous challenges, particularly during the pilot stage where things develop.

"As I work for the school's administration and organization, I must also be available for the project’s activities besides my other tasks. The job is sometimes demanding, but I am a person who enjoys challenges and is eager to learn new things."
- Singkham Santivong
Image: Singkham is discussing with the team during the workshop.

Singkham also shared that he loves working with the project as it gives him the chance to furtherly develop his English language skills. “It motivates me to grow in order to contribute more and ensure the success of both the project and our school," he said cheerfully. 

COVID-19 had quite an impact on project and general school activities causing delays because the school had to follow the prevention measures established by the Provincial COVID Task Force. Because of the long breaks, Singkham and his colleagues also adapted their teaching and other activities to be completed online as much as possible.

""It was extremely difficult, but we managed to keep going. We are now attempting to recover – in particular motivating students to return and participate in training. We are hoping for the best,” he said."
- Singkham
Initial vocational education and training
Vocational Training and Employment Support Services in Laos
The VTESS project aims at vocational training and labour market insertion or re-entering of schooling of the main project beneficiaries, who are people between 15 and 35 years of age, have completed primary and/ or lower secondary education only (early school leavers), and are subjected to income poverty. The main objective of the project is to improve the income and, ultimately, the livelihood of its beneficiaries.