Reformation of Thailand’s TVET system – apprenticeships, women and innovation

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All eyes are on Germany’s reformation of Thailand’s vocational education system – using TVET as a foundation to work up the ranks from apprentice to Managing Director.

As it stands, there are 426 colleges in Thailand, with the equivalent number of private colleges.  While there’s adequate facilities for locals, the country faces ongoing issues.

ThailandRecently, the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) invested in an extra 14,000 teachers to fill the ongoing shortage issue – but low salaries do little to retain quality staff and informal training.  And there’s a stigma attached to TVET, with Thai families encouraging a bachelor’s degree, instead of building vocational skills. Unfortunately, some students graduate with a standard degree and struggle to find work.

Vocational education, on the other hand, has an 80% success rate, according to a recent Bangkok Post article.  Plus, with one third of Thais being illiterate, leveraging vocation training could be the solution to successfully training youth.

New apprentice training program

Workers in the automotive, construction, mechanical, and electrical industries all need excellent engineering skills.  And Germany is a country that leads the world in producing skilled people for these jobs, through a monitored Dual Education System.

This means every new apprentice will be studying part-time at a technical college.  There are very strict regulations and quality controls on the curriculum and how the apprentices are supervised, both in school and in the work place.

The German Thai Chamber of Commerce’s (GTCC) Dual Educational program was introduced in 2013.  The program, funded by the German government, consists of renewing the curriculum, quality control, and the certification of successful students serving apprenticeships in a selected number of companies operating in Thailand.

Currently, there are 10 companies involved, with 350 apprentices.

Thailand has also made progress positioning itself as a knowledge-based economy. The Government has invested in a new policy to promote Thailand as a site for future high tech, electronic, and software development.

The cross-sector method to boost investments aims to improve the skills and capabilities of the Thai workforce, while increasing industry technological sophistication.

Women and innovation in the spotlight

But Thailand still has a long way to go towards gender equality.  To achieve sustainable development, women must be better engaged.  Access to quality education, economic resources, and political participation are three actions that leaders can take to make this happen.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are also pieces of the workforce puzzle, according to World Bank.  This means encouraging students to innovate while linking education institutions and training centres with future employers.

Vocational education can work well in SE Asian countries, like Thailand.  The GTCC is a great example of how a program can be implemented to benefit both the student and SMEs.  Thailand continues to promote companies that collaborate with academic and research institutions, to grow the country through innovation.

To invest in vocational education in your country, region, or TVET system please contact Wendy Perry via

February 2017

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