Our Learning Center was started to ensure that the youth who are inspired to move on to higher education through our Dream Management Project and Scholarship Program, are given the tools to find skilled employment and excel in their careers. The core courses in the Learning Center are based on the most recent National Employment Agency survey that cites that employers in Cambodia have identified three main skills to be lacking in applicants: soft skills, English language skills, and technological skills. Before coming to the center, the rural youth that we train have little to no access to technology and very limited English speaking skills.
The PEPY Learning Center annually provides 60 students from Kralanh, Srei Snam, Taing Kork, Kompong Leaeang, and now Varin (first year PEPY scholars and non-PEPY scholars) with workshops, training, and projects that go beyond university/vocational school classes. Our program courses work together to increase their confidence in both hard and soft skills.
- English: English classes that go beyond the textbook curriculum to provide practical English speaking and writing skills, such as creative writing, practicing dialogue related to current events, and the opportunity to learn from international teaching volunteers so that students can understand multiple accents.
- Information Communication Technologies (ICT): Communication through technology is increasingly important in securing jobs. Students learn industry-standard software applications, including Microsoft Office, Google Docs, graphic design, and social media in preparation for future employment.
- Youth Empowerment: These classes aim to build confidence and skills in interpersonal communication, leadership, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Students learn about world issues, like climate change and ongoing global conflicts, while discovering foreign and local cultures through international visitors and participating in cultural programs like Khmer dancing lessons. They are also provided support in interview preparation, CV writing, and project development.
- Intro to Business Class- providing the basic theories, terms, and structure to business planning and management.
- Library Class- providing space for students to develop research and analysis skills using books and computers as they improve their English comprehension.
Youth Leaders in Action Project
In March of 2020, PEPY began a new partnership with USAID and PACT Cambodia for their We Act Initiative. This allowed us to start the Youth Leaders in Action Project where youths take what they learned from our Learning Center courses and their research out to the communities to provide innovative and effective solutions to an identified need or challenge. You can read more about the Youth Leaders in Action pilot project and updates here.
Chantoeut Hoeur, a 2018-2019 Learning Center graduate gave a speech on Graduation Day reflecting on his experience in YE classes. He said, “A year with PEPY studying soft-skill classes undoubtedly enhanced my leadership skill, confidence, and problem-solving abilities when applying for a job. When I first started in the Learning Center, I was afraid to talk in front of many people and lack[ed] of confidence. Then, after a year, I realized that I work collaboratively in a team and talk more, good communication, and have a better relationship with my friends and classmates.”
Reaksmey, a student from Kralanh District, said, “I am very excited to attend the ICT class and enhance my computer skills. I have not learned computer before attending the PEPY Learning Center. Now, I have got a chance and, so far, learned about typing, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email and the internet. I like Microsoft Office application the most because in the future I want to be an accountant so that this administrative application will make [it] easier to reach my dream.”