Graduation from tertiary education does not necessarily lead to securing a job. In 2012, the National Employment Agency in Cambodia conducted a survey with businesses in Siem Reap to identify issues within the labor market. They found that there was a chronic skills shortage in high school and university graduates. Employers were struggling to fill positions as graduates were leaving education without appropriate skills for securing employment.
Key skills found to be lacking included soft skills such as leadership, interpersonal communication, critical and analytical thinking skills, problem-solving, and conflict resolution. Also lacking were hard skills such as proficiency in English language and Information & Communication Technology.
Our goal is to support Kralanh students in gaining further education and skilled employment. To do this, we’re providing learning that goes beyond just a university degree or vocational training.
The PEPY Empowering Youth Learning Center provides scholarship students with three classes to enhance their employability. These include:
Through the above classes, we provide CV and cover letter writing, and interview technique workshops to help prepare students for their own career path.
In addition, our Center hosts speakers several times a year, showcasing Cambodian role models who have achieved success in their professional lives. We also facilitate forums between potential employers and students, so they can learn more about the job market. To help students enhance their work experience and build their confidence, we help connect students with temporary opportunities such as internships and volunteering.
In addition, each year teachers from Educate Together in Ireland spend time in Siem Reap collaborating, learning, and teaching with the scholarship students.
English: Classes this year focused on making presentations, mock interviews, letter writing, creative writing, and workshops on fostering positive mental health.
ICT: Students received training in software including Microsoft Office, Google Drive, Dropbox, Photoshop, graphic design software, and blog software. In addition, the students learned how to format CV’s, cover letters, and reports.
Youth Empowerment: The students prepared for and facilitated community development workshops in two communes in the Kralanh district. They worked together to assess the needs of the community and how these needs could be met through knowledge transfer. These sessions provided an effective mechanism to empower the students to be leaders and role models for children and young people in their communities. This empowerment benefited not only the students themselves but the wider communities at large.
An introduction to the hospitality and tourism industry was provided by an Employee Forum, a visit to the Soria Moria Hotel and vocational school Ecole Paul Dubrule. The students also expanded their knowledge through the Skills Fair in Kralanh and a Khmer Talks event.
English: When the Learning Center commenced at the end of 2013, students’ levels and confidence in English was low. Within only several months, students became more confident, and were able to converse in English in the classroom.
ICT: Prior to these classes, some students had never connected to the internet. They learned how to access information online, and established personal email accounts for communicating with friends, school, and, in the future, places of work.
Youth Empowerment: With many students dreaming of a job in tourism, the Employee Forum on Hotels, which we coordinated, was a popular and practical event. We invited two speakers from hotels in the area, who spoke about the different positions available in the industry and how to best pursue a job.
Challenges / Lessons learned
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