Three steps in 5 years to make Vocational Education hip and lucrative

The labor ministry (MoLHR) in consultation with stakeholders has come up with three strategic directions to create more opportunities for Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) graduates.

The three strategic directions set for the next five years are, improving the Human Resources Development Plan, linking Industries with Institutes and reviving the perception and the image of TVET

MoLHR Secretary Pema Wangda said that by 2018 they have a plan to make TVET a mainstream education choice that all Bhutanese children, employers and industries aspire to join.

With this vision the ministry in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia conducted a two day workshop to develop an apprenticeship framework and strengthen industry-institute linkage.

“Further we are working with QUT for the next bigger project but the areas of support are still under discussion,” said the Chief program Officer Karma.

Their collaboration with QUT includes volunteers from Australia teaching technical skills and opportunities for the Technical Training Institute (TTI) trainees to undergo attachment programs.

The ministry also hopes to give scholarship for top-performing trainees and integrate TVET in schools.

The stakeholders found that the main challenge is not knowing the demand for the work force in the next five years and delivery capacity of the system that includes TTIs, Schools and University.

However, during the workshop they came up strategies such as labor market studies, mechanism to identify needs sector specific industry skills.

Further they would implement National Human Resources Development (NHRD) road map and come up with short-term and long-term HRD plans.

With this, the training providers would meet the demand of the industries and make efficient use of limited resources with labor market analysis-based investments.

The workshop also presented that proper HRD plans will encourage employers to employ nationals.

Secondly linking up with various industries and building a long term viable partnership was another priority.

For industry engagement, MoLHR has set a strategy to form legislative framework, formal mechanism to engage industries through Apprenticeship Training Program (ATP), outsourcing job placement and trainings and other related strategies.

The main challenges to build a long term partnership with industry is lack of government-industry linkages, government coordination and leadership, capacity within the industry, commitment from the industry and unwillingness to contribute or invest in partnerships.

Engaging industries for ATP programs or placing employees in the industry would reduce security threats and ambiguities in recruiting foreign workers and be a job guarantee for the youth.

It will be done by creating incentives for the industries, implementing demand-based training and instituting strong and formal partnership framework in the system.

Labor officials said that currently Construction Development Corporation Ltd. (CDCL), National Housing Development Corporation Ltd. (NHDC) and Bhutan International School of Hospitality and Tourism (BISHT) are the industries that are engaged in employing TTI graduates and training youth.

The third priority is to change the perception and the image of TVET. The workshop presented “TVET as no longer a last option for students who do not qualify for higher studies or for those who are economically disadvantaged.”

During the presentation it was presented that “TVET is for everyone who wants to explore their inner talents, for passion, and not to worry about their retirement age”.

The strategy to change the perception of TVET would be social marketing, building institutional capacity, strengthen counseling and school-based TVET, and a conducive and attractive work environment.

Therefore key activities discussed under this strategy are to strengthen Institute-School partnership, ensure equal work for equal pay (Minimum wage policy), revisit Apprenticeship Training Program and On-the-Job Training, and promote TVET in Schools.

Thinley Wangmo / Thimphu

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