In Vietnam, a quarter of the population is between 15 and 29 years old. This situation is a first for the country, and it represents both an opportunity, in the context of rapid development, and a significant challenge, given the currently high rate of youth unemployment (ages 15-24): this figure was 6.9% in 2018, much higher than the national rate of 1.9%.
In parallel, Vietnam is facing a shortage of qualified technicians to support its rapid economic growth, particularly in sectors such as welding, metalwork, and telecommunications.
To help the country meet this two-fold challenge, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) is funding five training centers, three of which are on track to become “Centers of excellence” with international and regional standards (ASEAN). Courses are offered in six fields: welding, metal cutting, industrial electricity, automotive mechanics, radio telecommunications equipment installation and fiber optic networks. One of these centers, Lilama 2, located in the south of the country in Long Thanh, has just inaugurated an “e-building” that boasts the latest technologies for technical learning.
There are guaranteed job prospects for the students, and the courses allow them to choose the company they want to work for—one that will guarantee them a healthy environment—which drives employers to adapt and improve their working conditions to attract this highly qualified labor. Guided tour of Lilama 2, one of the future Centers of Excellence.
AFD firmly believes in the importance of modernizing vocational training to help young people join the job market and has been active in the sector in Vietnam since 2006. Two projects have been funded there, for a total of €37.5 million, to modernize eight vocational training schools in a variety of sectors including mechanics, electricity, chemistry, telecommunications, etc.
In addition to investing in appropriate facilities, there is a special emphasis on capacity building, both in terms of pedagogical aspects and in keeping training content up to date so that it closely reflects the needs of companies in the sector. This project also helped develop industries aligned with the French model of advanced vocational training (BTS, DUT) through partnerships with several French academies and institutions (Grenoble and Versailles academies).
AFD has already begun preparations for the next step of the project and considered other ways to support technical higher education in Vietnam.