Build the capacity of the national technical/professional institutions and polytechnic schools in Cambodia to integrate entrepreneurship syllabus (C-BED) into existing curriculum and to evaluate its early adoption through Provincial Training Centres (PTC).
Despite reforms in the TVET sector in Cambodia by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training (MoLVT) and establishment of additional Provincial Training Centres (PTCs) around the country, development of the national economy remains slow and the country's youthful labour force is relatively poorly educated, with more than half of those employed having had only primary education. These young workers often do not have the skills to match employers' needs and graduates of TVET institutions may find it difficult to obtain employment.
Business and industry representatives in Cambodia have expressed dissatisfaction with the general level of preparedness of prospective entry-level employees. Employers report that graduates often have: (i) unclear direction and goals with very little understanding of their career path; (ii) low self-confidence and poor motivation; (iii) low level of academic accomplishment with very inadequate basic skills; (iv) lack of drive and enthusiasm for the work; (v) undeveloped leadership potential; (vi) inadequate preparation for work; and (vii) unrealistic salary and benefits expectations. While most employers expect to train new employees in company-specific procedures and to acquaint them with the behavioural norms, standards, and expectations in their company as well as job-specific technical skills required, they are very clear that the education and TVET system should take most of the responsibility for equipping young people with general employability skills.
Employability skills are the attributes of employees, other than technical competence, that employers see as valuable in the actual work place. These skills include reading, basic arithmetic and soft skills like problem solving, communications, leadership, and decision making.
Current efforts to improve the employment outcomes in country thus focus on reducing the skills mismatch, increasing the number of graduates, and developing TVET curriculum so that graduates are prepared not only for the jobs that are available in the present job market, but also to create or cope with jobs which will emerge in future within the country, region and beyond.
- Provincial Training Centres (PTC) and Entrepreneurship
With MSMEs accounting for 73% of employment in Cambodia, particularly amid a lack of better alternatives for TVET graduates, both the National Employment Policy (NEP) and National Youth Action Plan (NYAP) have mandated MOLVT to further invest in the development of skills for entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise management. Under the authority of the Directorate General of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (DGTVET), this authority has been executed to include curriculum on entrepreneurship and basic business management in TVET syllabus with training to be implemented via PTCs around the country.
There are 39 government PTCs throughout 25 provinces in Cambodia that offer TVET training programmes from basic to advanced. Most programmes are specifically targeted to out of school youth with approximately 2,000 individuals trained per year (40% female). These technical courses typically last between one to four months with a focus on developing skill sets for basic agriculture, construction, motor repair skills, electrical maintenance and repair, handicraft manufacturing, and basic food processing.
- National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (NIEI)
Under the direction of the MOL/DGTVET, NIEI has the mandate for entrepreneurship curriculum development and promotion in Cambodia with delivery of training primarily through PTC. Following recent restructuring of NIEI from a centre into an institution, NIEI's scope of work has been broadened to include the development of national entrepreneurship curriculums, provision of on-the-job support and assistance to PTC staff (and other public service centre staff) involved in the promotion and delivery of entrepreneurship training. While a trainer-based model for entrepreneurship training has previously been developed by NIEI, implementation through PTCs has been limited due to the time, cost and capacity constraints faced and most TVET graduates do not have the opportunity to participate in such training opportunities.