Swisscontact Wins the First FoBBIZ Prize 

The Swiss Forum for Skills Development and International Cooperation (FoBBIZ) launched its very first FOBBIZ Prize competition in 2016. It supports innovative skills development initiatives rooted in Swiss vocational education and training expertise. The Junior Passport to Success (JPS) Initiative in Southern Laos won the first prize for the innovative way it brings hospitality training to less advantaged people in rural Southern Laos.

The FoBBIZ Prize aims to draw attention to ideas, experiences or outcomes that help to advance skills development efforts within an international context. The prize supports concepts, projects or developments that can be implemented at different levels (i.e. at education system level, institutional level or in teaching-learning processes).

Hospitality Training in Southern Laos
The Junior Passport to Success (JPS) Initiative is part of Swisscontact’s Champasak Tourism Business Promotion (CTBP) Program in Southern Laos. Swisscontact’s model of training people at the base of the pyramid – meaning people at the bottom of the wealth pyramid with limited education and livelihood opportunities – is an innovative way of bringing relevant training to the people in need, rather than bringing people to a training venue far away, at increased costs.

Long-term Training Market Solution
Rather than directly providing training, Swisscontact was keen to develop a model, which would have the potential to lead to systemic change in the local training market and offer a long-term, sustainable training market solution in Southern Laos. It uses industry professionals mobilized to train smaller guesthouses, restaurants and hotels in rural areas in real work situations, making the training directly applicable to the work realities. The local hotel and restaurant association serves as main coordinator of the program, collecting demand from its members and coordinating the industry trainer pool.

The model has been recognized by both public and private sector partners at national level and is currently being up-scaled to cover more than 60% of the country, reaching more than 1,000 beneficiaries over the next years to come.