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Major Skills Challenges Facing SKILLS-AP Member Countries in 2008 and Strategies to Address Them - Lao PDR

— theme: Apprenticeships and traineeships, Competency-based training
— country: Lao PDR
— type: Meeting Reports

Lao PDR's input extracted from the Report of the Second Technical Meeting of the SKILLS-AP Regional Skills Network Partner Organizations held in Incheon, Republic of Korea on 16-18 April 2008. At the workshop, 27 ILO member States discussed the major skills challenges facing the country and ways in which the responsible government agencies or institutions are addressing them.

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Still in the early stages of its development, Lao PDR does not possess an adequately qualified, productive human resource base which can reply to the demands of the domestic and external labour market.  By way of example, the labour force is primarily comprised of economically-active labourers (74 percent); however, a mere 12 percent are skilled workers.  Although some progress in the areas of vocational training and skill development has been made by the Government in recent years, the country continues to lack a comprehensive coordination mechanism, faces severe shortages in necessary financial and human resources, and does not have sufficient access to labour market data in which to upgrade its national training system.

In addition, the vocational training infrastructure is currently unable to accommodate demand. Training centres across Laos have an estimated receiving capacity of 15,000 people, yet an approximate 100,000 people are in need of training.  This incapacity has been attributed to large numbers of labour migrants emigrating from the country.  Lastly, because there are not enough legal precedents regarding vocational training and skill development in Laos, there exists no comprehensive strategy in which to encourage greater coordination with the private sector in implementation.


The Lao PDR Government recognizes that vocational training and skill development are crucial factors in the national development of the economy. As such, the government has indicated its intention to increase its investment in skills areas by allocating more from the national treasury budget. The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MLSW) has recently formulated its long-terms strategic development plan (2007-2020), establishing a clear direction and agenda, outlining a strategy for cooperation, and estimating necessary financial sources with the aim of upgrading Lao PDR’s national training system. Many new legal documents have since been formulated and relevant policies revised to improve the national framework on vocational training and skill development.  Lao PDR is working towards the establishment of a national skill recognition committee, so that labour skill standards can be identified effectively; ASEAN skill standards in five areas have already been approved as points of reference. MLSW has begun conducting skill testing in various different levels.

Moreover, with support from MLSW, vocational training facilities have been widely expanded in both the public and private sectors.  These facilities have been provided with necessary new equipment and teaching resources and the number of enrolled students has since increased from 15,000 year to 20,000 year.  The courses, curriculum and learning-teaching materials will continue to be improved and developed.  The Government is also aiming to conduct ongoing training-of-trainer courses on self-employment in ten Provinces with the objective of reducing labour emigration.  The MLSW is looking to establish a regional labour information centre which will conduct periodic regional labour forums and is evaluating the feasibility of setting up more information centres in other parts of the country.

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