“The research found that only technical skills are not sufficient enough. The labor market is looking for graduates with both hard skills and soft skills.” Flying Officer Mr. Somporn Pandam, Deputy Secretary-General, Office of the Vocational Education Commission quoted that in a talk on “Policy Directions and Guidelines for Skills and Learning Development for Youth and Adults to Step Out of Poverty” on January 18th, 2023 at Equitable Education Fund (Thailand).
If TVET intakes acquired all foundational skills, and socio-emotional skills before the TVET level, the students could smoothly complete TVET and comfortably establish their career path. However, TVET has to provide extra care to groom foundational skills before and during the course. Lacking literacy is currently one of the biggest obstacles in TVET. Another issue is the lack of ability to communicate, successfully share, and exchange information, especially for professional purposes.
Currently, TVET has been cooperating with the country’s leading private sector networks to co-create classes, courses, and curricula. Many required knowledge and skills are provided for TVET students, for instance, industrial mindset, literacy, and communication.
Moreover, short-term courses for reskill and upskill purposes are also provided for those who want to pursue higher career path progress and meet new labor market needs.
Mr. Somporn discussed further that AI and IoT (Internet of Things) are disrupting the labor market. Therefore, It is now emphasizing reskilling and upskilling to prevent labor losses. Financial literacy, mental health, and entrepreneurship are the newly added subjects. He ensured that TVET would continue to foster its students to become the bedrock for the people and economic growth.
“During 2020 – 2021, there were approximately 20,000 school dropouts per year. These populations eventually became unprepared laborers.” Mr. Sanchai stated
In addition, Mr. Sanchai Chobphimai, Director of Trainer Development and Training Technology Division, Department of Skill Development, Ministry of Labour added that these school dropouts, from primary school level to juvenile detention center, are recruited and trained by the Department of Skill Development. The program focuses on foundational skills for a first jobber during a 2 – 6 months term. This skill training program successfully provided a skilled workforce where 85% of the trainees got permanent positions after 1 – 2 months. After the program, the graduates are guaranteed the national skill standards, thus these graduates, under negotiation by the department, receive a skilled worker salary level according to the National Wage Committee. This also creates a positive influence and a good example for people around the graduates and their society. Another important finding from the program is that employers are looking for discipline as the most important trait.
“There could be increasing numbers of school dropouts soon and urged for more collaboration with government units and private sectors to provide more training capacity,” Mr. Sanchai messaged
News: Policy Forum: Developing Work-readiness for the Future of the Thai Labor Market Kicked Off as an Effort of EEF to Address Educational and Economic Disparities
Video: Forum Record
Project: Adult Skills Assessment in Thailand