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Vietnamese youth are facing significant unemployment issues. In 2018, the rate of youth unemployment was 6.9% (ILO, 2018), youth aged 15-24 accounted for 40.0% of total unemployment. Despite the fact that there is a high prevalence of unemployment and vulnerable employment amongst youth, there is still a shortage of skilled workers in the market. According to the 2017 Employment Report by GSO and ILO, the rate of untrained, and unskilled labor accounted for 62% of the total labour suitable aged population. The Vietnamese government has, therefore, put improving the country’s human resource quality as one of the priorities in its national development strategies. This includes a number of policies and incentives promoting vocational training amongst youth. However, it has achieved very little success to date. Public vocational schools which are funded by government offer youth training at low tuition rates, but their training programs are not market-driven. As a result, students are not equipped with appropriate skills for the real labor market, and they struggle with finding a relevant job. While private vocational training schools tend to have be more marketable, youth who come from disadvantaged backgrounds are unable to afford this training due to the high tuition rates.
Realizing the mismatch between demand and supply in the labour market, as well as the on-going gaps in vocational education in Vietnam, REACH developed a vocational training program based on business engagement. It is five-part process consultation is key.