All the fun of the skills fair: learning about jobs and scholarships in Kralanh
On June 7, we organized our first Skills Fair event in Kralanh High School for students aged 15 years old and up. The main goal was to connect students with a variety of organizations so they could learn about university options and future job opportunities.
Our team spoke with high school students earlier in the year to find out what they needed to know in order to achieve their dreams. Lida Loem, PEPY’s Project Manager and Skills Fair organizer, said, “Students didn’t know what kind of scholarships or jobs were available so that’s why they lost confidence in continuing their studies.” We wanted to bridge the gap between students’ lack of knowledge or confidence and their achievable goals.
Many young people around rural areas in the Siem Reap province often drop out of school for several reasons:
- They are pressured by their families to drop out of school to find work
- They choose to quit school and find work in Thailand, even if their parents prefer that the kids stay in school
- They lose confidence and motivation to continue studying because they don’t see how it will get them a better job in the future
Participants were able to speak with people from universities, hotels, businesses and NGOs at the fair. The representatives told students about the types of roles that exist in their organization and explained the value of education in helping them achieve their goals.
Sopheap Doung, the Human Resources Manager at Amansara Hotel, grew up in Kralanh herself and attended the Skills Fair to share her knowledge and motivate students. “I’m happy to join this community event and show young people how to get a better job and a better life. They can start right now to get the skills to match the requirements for the job and they can plan ahead for their goals in the future,” Sopheap said.
In the afternoon, representatives from the YES Centre gave a workshop to students on how to write a CV and cover letter. This Siem Reap-based organization gives young people career advice, soft skills training and a place to come and study. One student said she was excited to receive more training from the YES Centre.
Desire to learn and share
700 students attended the fair and many asked questions to employers and event speakers, including information about the skills they need for various job roles, what to study in university and salaries.
Saraak Rith, PEPY’s Senior Program Manager, was very happy that students were calling him after the event to find out more information about the organizations and future opportunities. Some students were so motivated after the event that they shared the information they got with their friends who attending another high school.
A 20-year-old student said, “I would really be happy if this event happened regularly because it’s good to help the young generation understand more about different jobs. It helps Cambodia with economic growth like in other countries.”
We received a lot of positive and constructive feedback from students and organizations that we will use to improve our future projects. Here are some of the lessons we learned:
- Work more with the students to prepare questions to ask the organizations. Many students went up to representatives and weren’t sure what kind of questions they should ask.
- Invite more NGOs, particularly ones that are providing scholarships so students are aware of some options to continue their education. Not having enough money is a huge barrier for students to continue their education. Even students who do work while they study often have a low salary.
- Collaborate more closely with teachers and parents leading up to the event so they can talk about the fair in more detail. Some of the teachers didn’t have enough information to articulate the purpose of the event.
We would like to thank the following organizations for participating in the Skills Fair and sharing their ideas and experience with young people in Kralanh:
- National Employment Agency: Job centre in Siem Reap that provides job seekers, employees, employers and skill training providers opportunities to exchange information with each other.
- YES Centre: Provides a range of employment support services to assist job-seeking youth in Siem Reap enhance their employability and fulfill their potential.
- Paul Dubrule NGO: Prepares students for careers in the hospitality and tourism industries by offering them a realistic working hotel and restaurant environment enhance their skills.
- Victoria Hotel: Five-star hotel in Siem Reap.
- Amansara Hotel: 24-suite Angkor Wat luxury resort.
- Kredit Microfinance: Provides financial services and primary health to Cambodia’s poor women in the urban and rural areas.
- Cellcard: Cambodia’s leading telecommunications network.
- CEFP Cambodia: provides people with training in the trades including metal work, tiling and air conditioning.
- Provincial Training Centre Siem Reap: Provides skills training in a variety areas including serving and agriculture.
- Amret Microfinance Institution: Provides a range of financial services for low-income people and small and medium enterprises.
- PEPY Tours: Provides educational and responsible travel experiences around Cambodia.
- Selantra Restaurant: Provides high quality dining.
- Build Bright University: Located in Siem Reap.
- University of Southeast Asia: Located in Siem Reap.