“They have to choose and focus on the subject that they are passionate about and to build a career from it.”

Initial vocational education and training
Mr. Suphat Khaykham is a keen supporter of the Vocational Training and Employment Support Services project (VTESS) implemented by Swisscontact. Suphat is the Deputy Director of the Integrated Vocational Education School (IVET) in Xieng Khuang, a Northeastern province of Laos. He understands the importance of the project for the school and its trainees. Suphat organises the teachers and the lessons, plans the internships of the trainees, and leads the cooperation between the IVET School and the project.
Suphat Khaykham

To learn more about the workforce situation in his province, Suphat conducted a survey with the local labour department in Xieng Khuang. 

"Although agriculture had not previously been a popular course for young people to take at Integrated Vocational Education Schools, I found that there was a potential for agricultural-based employment here. We are now endorsing that working on a farm can also provide a good income in the future."
Suphat Khaykham

After showing how studying agriculture is a viable option, short listing the trainees is the next challenge, “It is also important to take into account the willingness of the trainee to complete the course. If they lose interest too soon, then it will affect the planning of the internship and the overall results,” he said. “Taking a Certificate 1 course enables them to develop knowledge from a wide range of subjects. However, they have to choose and focus on the subject that they are passionate about and to build a career from it."

IVET students studying agriculture 

Suphat added that it is important that the students think of their internship as a stepping stone for them to be hired in the future. “It is an entry point for them to enter the labour market,” he said.

The feedback from the trainees is generally good about the project. The trainees are proud to be a part of the project because they get to continue their studies, hone their skills and gain work experience. It also gives them more opportunities to find a job. What Suphat likes about the project is that it contributes to higher employment rates for the trainees because of the coaching aspect.

He said, “It gives them the confidence they need during the hiring process and the overview of the labour market.” The project also provides the necessary equipment to the school and the trainees to support their studies.

Suphat expressed his appreciation for the VTESS project by saying, “We have received good support from the VTESS project; especially, the disadvantaged groups who are unable to continue their secondary education due to family economics or other problems. The project created opportunities for them to become self-sufficient and to be hired.”

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.