- By Khin Yadana
A s the proverb goes, “You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.”
People have to earn their living in many different ways for their survival. In order to enjoy prosperity, efforts should be made to conduct career guidance and counseling to youths, as well as render vocational training courses for their future.
As for youths, mastering their respective profession is rather crucial in developing countries and 60 per cent of their tasks can be done if they are competent in their profession, according to reports released by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
Department of Labour
According to the Employment and Training Act of 1950, the Department of Labour has conducted vocational training courses for the development of Myanmar labour force. This program has been conducted since 1972, with the cooperation of ILO and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In accordance with the Employment and Skills Development Law 2013 in Myanmar, programmes for skills assessments have been made to produce skilled workers from vocational training schools and skills assessment sectors, according to the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population.
Many skilled laborers are required by different departments, while lack of skilled workforce can lead to various hindrances in a nation. With the aim of promoting the sector of skilled labourers, the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population, CSOs and other organizations at home and abroad, have been opening many vocational training schools across the country.
“We are planning to open many training schools in different townships, under the aegis of the ministry and other international organizations,” said, U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin, the director of the Skills Development Division under the Department of Labour.
Moreover, these schools offer more support and time for trainings, such as basic welding, plumbing, electrical wiring, lathe operation, TIG gas welding, supervision courses, the productivity booster course, trainer courses, inspection courses, drawing syllabus and curriculum,” he added.
It is learnt that any trainee can attend classes at the skill training centres located at 298, Mya Nandar St, Ward 13, Yankin Township; Ward 43, corner of Min Ye Kyaw Swar Road and Bo Min Yaung Road, North Dagon Myothit Township; and No. H-250, Industrial Zone 2, Kanaung Minthargyi St, Pyigyitagun Township, Mandalay.
“Despite having a big workforce of youths in many towns and cities in Myanmar, we are currently facing shortage of skilled workers. Compared to international standard, it is critically important for the majority of the workforce to possess competency and to recognize their skills. As for the State government, it is imperative to acknowledge and recognize the experience and skills of the labourers in the working environment, while employers should appraise and enhance capacity-building for sustainable workforce and labourers. As such, labourers are needed to develop the habit of continuous learning as long as they work,” said U Kyaw Kyaw Lwin.
Occupational competency standards
The Department of Labour, with the approval of the Cabinet, formed the ‘National Skills Standard Authority’ to develop occupational skills standards in priority occupations to facilitate the training, assessment and certification of skilled workers, including those currently seeking jobs in the labour market and existing skilled workers who had no skills-recognition certificates.
According to the framework of the National Skills Standard Authority, we can draw up occupational skills standards at four levels, namely Semi-skilled Worker (level 1), Skilled Worker (level 2), Advanced Skilled Worker (level 3), and Supervisor (level 4). With regard to Professional Level (level 5), it is learnt that many countries can assess the occupational competency standards of level 5.
In Myanmar, the assessment of occupational competency standards is being made in order to enhance the skills of the labourers in various professions, such as air conditioner installation, electricity installation, carpenters, waiters, cashiers, salespersons, masons, tailors, mechanics, plumbers, public area attendants, pneumatic technicians, and so on. But majority of the labourers find it difficult to secure a suitable job for them. Authorities concerned should prioritize measures for protection and promotion of the rights and skills of the workers. Myanmar faces major stumbling blocks in building a skilled workforce, and some of the labourers are high in demand, such as electronic technicians, carpenters, construction workers, hoteliers, garment factory workers, bankers and human resource specialists, according to a survey conducted by ILO.
As for authorities concerned, it is of paramount importance to upgrade the professional level of vocational education due to the increasing demand of employment in various fields. Moreover, efforts should be made to train as many youths as possible in various sectors utilizing various ways and means, such as short- and long-term trainings, so that they can find a better career prospect for their future.
Translated by Win Ko Ko Aung