Programme trains school-leavers to become auto mechanics

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Presided over by the minister of labour and vocational training, the director of Plan International Cambodia, and representatives of Plan International Korea, KOICA, and Hyundai, and attended by more than 100 students from Hyundai-KOICA Dream Center, a launching ceremony entitled “Dissemination of HYUNDAI – KOICA Dream Centre Model” was recently held for a new crop of auto mechanic students at the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia. It was an informative event for all concerned.

According to H. E. Hing Sideth, director of the ministry’s Department of Training, about 150 students participated in the training session from the targeted provinces: Tbong Khmum, Siem Reap, Stung Treng and Ratanakkiri. However, only about 140 students will be able to study until the end of auto mechanic training. The training is provided to those aged from 15 to 24 year old.

“The number of vehicles has increased gradually over the last decade as the country has developed. Though this kind of training was just initiated in 2014, I am proud of this collaboration, as it helps to develop the country, as well as responding to demand,” Mr Sideth said.

“Equally important,” he added, “it is really impressive to see so many people who had dropped out of school developing a skill and helping to meet the demand for labour, which also helps them to earn income to support themselves.”

Mr Sideth said that on his many visits to Japan, he had noticed that it is a major country with a great need for mechanics. Therefore, he hopes all students from NPIC can experience working for three years in that country and return to develop Cambodia. He also encouraged parents to send their children to engage in such vocational training if they cannot afford to send them to study.

The country director for Plan International Cambodia, Jan Jaap Kleinrensink, mentioned that the organisation had been working with NPIC and other partners to ensure that students who drop out of school get an opportunity to be trained as an auto mechanic and get a decent job in a garage either in their home town or in Phnom Penh.

“Students from our four targeted provinces can be skilled labourers after getting training for a year. They have all found jobs so far. By this result, we can see the effectiveness of our programme,” said Mr Kleinrensink.

He added that there are staff operating in each targeted province to locate youths interested in becoming mechanics. After being selected, those youths can study at NPIC, where they are supplied with living expenses.

“The programme will end in October this year; we’ve been working with lots of partners, who have participated in the last four years. We’re still looking for opportunities and funds because we feel it is a successful model for 140 youths. It is a valuable opportunity to improve their quality of life,” Mr Kleinrensink said.

He encouraged girls to develop their potential if they really have a strong interest in becoming a mechanic. Mr Kleinrensink believes girls have as much potential as boys if they can challenge the norms of society.

On Ey, a participant from Tbong Khmum province, said he was really lucky to have met a staff member of Plan when he dropped out of school. He studied at NPIC for a year and eventually was sent to get work experience in Korea for three months.

“I’m now working for JKI Auto as a mechanic after coming back from Korea. I am so happy and also thankful to them for bringing new hope and skills into my life,” Mr Ey said.

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