Forum underlines need for VN workers to develop skills

Monday, Jul 03, 2023 16:45

NIC and USAID representatives kick off the "New Opportunities" programme. — Photo courtesy of NIC

Improving access to opportunities for workers in the digital age is a must, said Vu Quoc Huy, director of Vietnam National Innovation Centre.

Huy made his comment during a forum discussing digital jobs, which presented the results of a programme called "New Opportunities" under the guidance of the Workforce for Innovation and Startup Ecosystem (USAID WISE). The event was co-hosted by the National Innovation Centre and USAID in Ha Noi on Wednesday.

The two events aim to support the development of Viet Nam's digital-savvy employee base to meet the challenges in the fourth industrial revolution.

Through digital skills training courses, employees, especially the unemployed or those who want to change careers after the COVID-19 pandemic, will get up-to-date knowledge to meet their future job requirements.

According to Huy, the training sessions will teach people how to proficiently access and use digital technology, thereby giving them more opportunities to find advanced jobs and progress in their careers. This is a key factor for employees in the context of constantly changing work patterns and the development of the services industry in Viet Nam.

Aler Grubbs, Director of USAID Vietnam said: “The New Opportunities Programme is part of our broader partnership to support Viet Nam's shift to a knowledge-based, high-tech economy."

"Workers can broadly contribute to and benefit from this new economy. Viet Nam has been very focused on digital development and transformation, and embracing the fourth industrial revolution. This requires a significant shift in workforce skill composition.”

Do Tien Thinh, Deputy Director of NIC said that the New Opportunities programme was initially conducted in the first quarter of 2023, when many were unemployed due to the lingering economic hit of the pandemic.

The New Opportunities programme helps workers participate in training, with women making up at least 20 per cent of the total. After the training, 50 per cent of the participants should be able to secure a new job, Thinh said.

Many enterprises in the textiles and electronics industries were forced to lay off staff. In addition, a number of workers were replaced by machines and had to change their careers altogether.

This programme focuses on supporting unemployed workers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those likely to face unemployment due to automation in the future. It also aims to create opportunities for workers to join short-term training courses to improve their skills better to adapt to the digital economy.

Nguyen Thi Nga, a representative of the World Bank, said that Viet Nam's labour market has made a drastic change from self-employed to salaried employees.

Currently, 70 per cent of the fastest-growing occupational groups are specialists and technicians in the fields of IT, healthcare, science and technology and economics, as well as business and administration. Digital literacy is now widespread in Viet Nam with about two-thirds of careers requiring it.

Many technical skills in Viet Nam still fall below the global average, especially those involving advertising, architecture, and electronics. She noted that careers now require high levels of computer use.

She said Viet Nam needs to increase investment in boosting the supply and quality of labour in developing industries.

Within the framework of the forum, USAID's Economic Growth Support Program in Asia (US-SEGA) and FUNiX signed a cooperation agreement to pilot the "Digital transformation for Vietnamese workers" programme. The activities promise to help workers narrow the gap in knowledge in the key sectors of the fourth industrial revolution and develop new skills to reposition themselves and take advantage of new opportunities. — VNS

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