Vocational Training In Thailand: Empowering Youth For Career Success

With a changing economy, rapid urbanization, and technological advancements, the demand for a skilled workforce in Thailand has soared.

Recognizing the critical role of skilled workers in driving economic growth, the country has placed an increased emphasis on vocational training, especially targeting the youth, to prepare them for future career success.

Understanding the Vocational Education Landscape

The vocational education landscape in Thailand is divided into formal and non-formal education. The formal education system, governed by the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), includes vocational certificates (Por Wor Chor) and higher diplomas (Por Wor Sor). These qualifications cater to students from lower secondary to post-secondary levels.

The non-formal sector, on the other hand, offers short-term courses to out-of-school youth and adults, aiming to equip them with specific skills required by the labour market. Both these sectors work in tandem, ensuring a comprehensive approach to skill development.

Why the Emphasis on Vocational Training?

The significance of vocational training in Thailand stems from multiple factors:

Economic Transformation: Thailand's shift from an agrarian to an industrial economy requires a new set of skills. Industries such as tourism, manufacturing, and technology demand skilled workers, and vocational training prepares individuals for these sectors.

Youth Employment: With nearly 10% of its youth population unemployed, vocational training acts as a bridge, equipping the younger generation with employable skills.

Aligning with Thailand 4.0: The Thailand 4.0 policy, launched to make Thailand a high-income nation, relies heavily on innovation, technology, and skilled labour. Vocational training plays a crucial role in realizing this vision by ensuring a trained workforce.

Key Initiatives for Youth Empowerment

Recognizing the importance of vocational training, the Thai government, in collaboration with private stakeholders, has launched numerous initiatives:

Dual Vocational Training (DVT): Inspired by the German model, DVT integrates classroom learning with practical on-the-job training. Students spend part of their time in school and part with partnering companies, gaining practical experience.

Establishment of Vocational Hubs: The Thai government has been investing in the creation of specialized vocational hubs, each catering to specific industries like electronics, automotive, or tourism. These hubs are strategically placed, often in collaboration with leading industry players, to provide top-notch training.

International Collaborations: To raise the standard of vocational training, Thailand has entered into collaborations with countries known for their vocational prowess, like Germany, Switzerland, and Japan. These partnerships ensure the transfer of best practices and global standards.

Incentives for Students: Recognizing the initial hesitation in choosing vocational paths, the government has introduced incentives such as scholarships, stipends, and guaranteed job placements for students opting for vocational courses.

The Road Ahead

While there have been significant strides in positioning vocational training at the forefront of Thailand's educational strategy, challenges remain. The perception of vocational education as a 'second choice' or 'inferior' to academic education is a mindset that still persists in parts of society. Addressing this requires continuous awareness campaigns and showcasing successful vocational graduates.

Additionally, with the rapid pace of technological advancements, it's crucial for the curriculum to be regularly updated, ensuring that students are trained in the latest skills and tools required by the market.