CHF 4 million per year for 12 years. That's how much the SDC is planning to invest in vocational and technical training in Myanmar. Two main projects are concerned: the Vocational Skills Development Program (VSDP), and the centre for vocational training in Yangon, which will receive a financial contribution.
In its initial phase, from February 2014 to January 2018, VSDP will have an annual budget of CHF 3 million to pursue the following objectives:
- Increasing the availability of training in the hotel industry and increasing the quality of service offered by staff in this sector
- Providing mobile vocational education, adapted to market requirements, in rural areas and for disadvantaged populations
- Improving the standards of the monitoring and the accreditation of existing and future vocational training
Another aim of the project is to encourage political dialogue. Experiences on the ground will contribute to the development of policies and laws on vocational and technical training in Myanmar.
Partnerships with the Swiss hotel industry
Myanmar's hotel industry is promising, but there is a lack of expertise and know-how in this sector. That is why the SDC has included Swiss hotel industry experts in the project for the development of quality vocational training. This process favours the implementation of a sustainable business model on the economic, social and environmental levels. The Swiss Hotel Management Academy in Lucerne (SHL) has responded to the challenge. It has over a century of experience and has an excellent national and international reputation.
This innovative model includes a partnership between the project and hotels in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. These hotels train more staff than they currently need, thereby feeding the skilled labour market, which is in constant demand.
Emphasis on disadvantaged populations
In addition to the hotel market, the VSDP vocational training project focuses on the disadvantaged inhabitants of south-eastern Myanmar: young, unemployed people from suburbs and rural areas, women, migrants, internally displaced persons and refugees.
The SDC is working on this in close cooperation with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This organisation helps them to make contact with a population that can prove difficult to access, and puts mobile apprenticeships in place. These apprenticeships cover several fields: agriculture, textiles, construction and technical trades connected to cars and electricity.
Support to the Centre for vocational Training
An SDC partnership with the Centre for Vocational Training in Yangon means that the apprenticeships were up and running quickly. The centre was set up over 12 years ago. It trains over 500 young people per year in the areas of the hotel industry, administration, welding, electricity and carpentry. It benefits from an excellent reputation with both the government and the private sector. The apprenticeships, which last three years, are inspired by the Swiss system.
Since 2014, the SDC has been supporting the development of the Yangon centre with CHF 5 million over 5 years. This money is for the construction of a new building in the capital, which will make it possible to double the number of apprentices.
Myanmar is expecting major economic growth over the next 20 years. This boom will affect various sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, energy, mining, finance, telecommunication, hotels and tourism.
Myanmar's enormous workforce is one of its strengths and a key factor for its development. Vocational training which is presently available, however, does not always meet market needs or standards. As a result, the country's productivity is struggling to take off.