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New PPSEZ partnership to train local workforce

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
Phnom Penh Special Economic Zones is one of the largest industrial parks in the kingdom. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Officials from the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with two Japanese-owned training centres to bolster the skill level of the industrial park’s workforce and increase productivity.

PPSEZ entered into a partnership with the Technology Promotion Association (Thailand-Japan), also known as TPA, and the Japan Thailand Economic Cooperation Society (JTECS) to train the SEZ’s workforce.

The official signing ceremony took place yesterday at TPA’s headquarters in Bangkok.

The goal of the collaboration is to build a tailor-made training programme for Cambodian workers. The three organisations will be working hand in hand to develop a general vocational training plan as well as basic training on soft and hard skills.

Hiroshi Uematsu, the PPSEZ’s CEO, said the partnership represented a great opportunity to further professionalise the local workforce.

“We are sure it will contribute to boost workers’ productivity and motivation, as well as improve safety in our factories,” he said.

“As we continue to grow, we hope our efforts to improve the skills and knowledge of workers within the PPSEZ will pave the way for more foreign direct investment in Cambodia.”

The programme will be designed to enhance workers’ skills and knowledge when it comes to teamwork, safety, grooming and personal hygiene, as well as having a positive work attitude and good work ethics.

The programme will incorporate workshops, case studies, role-plays and other practical exercises.

Michelle Zhao, a senior manager at the PPSEZ, told Khmer Times that the agreement is a symbolic starting point to build up industrial human capital development systems that can serve the needs of the local industry, particularly as the country readies itself to cope with the new minimum wage in the garment and footwear sector, which will come into effect early next year.

“With a sharp salary increase in the horizon, we need to increase productivity and attract more FDI, which requires more skilled workers,” she said.

“More and more Thai companies are investing in Cambodia right now. It is the right time to work together in order to help Cambodian workers acquire the skills they need.

“We believe the programme will help boost productivity, which will ease foreign investors’ concerns regarding the skill level of workers and attract more sophisticated industry to Cambodia,” said Ms Zhao, adding that a pilot programme called “pre-job training programme for new workers” in scheduled for early 2018.

John Cha, a representative of the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC), told Khmer Times recently that his organisation is prioritising improving productivity among all its factory members.

The Cambodia Garment Training Institute, a facility operated by GMAC, provides a full range of skill development courses tailored to the needs of local factories.

“We need to create a work environment conducive to the implementation of productivity improvement initiatives at industry level as well as at factory level,” he said.

“GMAC is investing hard in capacity development for its member factories.”

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