University or Vocational Training - Making the smart choice
“Should I pursue university career path or choose technical vocational education and training instead?” “What occupation and school should I choose to match my interest, ability, and to ensure job opportunities after graduation?” These were some of the common questions raised by participating high school students and their parents during the discussions on the Open Day which took place on April 22, 2018, at the LILAMA 2 International Technology College (LILAMA 2) in Long Thanh, Dong Nai province. The Open Day attracted more than 1,200 participants including students, their parents and the management boards from high schools in Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Lam Dong provinces, LILAMA 2 alumni and current trainees as well as human resource managers from enterprises.
Responding to hesitation and worries of students when considering technical and vocational education and training, Mr Nguyen Khanh Cuong, the Rector of LILAMA 2 shared: “Entering university is not the only way to success. With technical vocational education and training, the curriculum and training quality is closely linked to the demand of the industry; trainees are not only trained according to international standards but also obtain soft skills, production management and quality management skills. Therefore, employment opportunities after graduation are very high. For example, almost graduated trainees from LILAMA 2 found training related jobs with decent income.”
Each year, up to 250,000 university graduates do not find a job, yet enterprises are struggling to find enough skilled workers to meet their demand. This mismatch is an even better argument for high school students and their parents to consider technical vocational education and training as a promising career option which meets the market demand.
As a guest speaker of the event, Mr Pham Van Thien, Human Resource Manager of Hyosung Vietnam, shared that more than half of their current staff were trained at LILAMA 2. Current recruitment experience shows that enterprises tend to seek graduates from TVET institutes as they have the relevant skills to work in the jobs offered, thanks to intensive practice-oriented training programmes. In contrast, it takes two to six months to train university graduates before they are able to perform the same job as required.
Besides consultation and discussion sessions, the participants also experienced “one day as LILAMA 2 trainee” with many practical activities like visiting the TVET institute’s modern facilities, exchange experiences with current trainees, teachers and alumni, and visiting the training workshops. With more than ten interactive booths, the event was a useful and practical experience for students and their parents, especially with only a few months before they have to make their career choice.
Ngo Thi Thuy, a grade-12 student from Nguyen Huu Canh high school shared: "I am interested in Mechatronics engineering as this job will become dominant in the future. Joining the event today, I have learnt a lot about my field of interest and realised the advantages and benefits of vocational training and education. I am also impressed by the learning environment at LILAMA 2 with its modern facilities, practice-oriented focus and close relationship with companies, which offers a lot of opportunities for trainees after graduation”.
In the school year of 2018 – 2019, LILAMA 2 will recruit around 2,000 trainees for 13 occupational fields, with many benefits such as offering free tuition free, commitment to full employment after graduation, dormitories for trainees outside the province and supporting trainees who wish to work abroad.
The event was the second Open Day held this year; the third one will be held on May 12 for grade-nine students in Dong Nai province.
Qualified in-company trainers are an essential aspect of cooperative training: Under their close instruction, trainees improve their technical knowledge and practical skills in real working conditions during the in-company training phases. From the 6th to the 14th August 2018, a training of in-company trainers was realised for the four cooperative training offers of LILAMA 2 International College of Technology: Construction Mechanics, Metal Cutting–CNC, Mechatronics, and Industrial Electronics. In total, 20 technicians from four partner companies, namely Martech Boiler Co Ltd VN, Thuan Hai Corporation, QHplus Industry JSC and Advanced Multitech VN, participated. Named companies operate in the areas of construction material, energy solutions and mechanic and industrial electrics. Additionally, nine teachers from LILAMA 2 took an active part as facilitators for group activities and projects.
13 key teachers of LILAMA 2 International Technology College (LILAMA 2) and Vocational College of Machinery and Irrigation (VCMI) took part in a 172-hour further training course which included a trial examination in metal cutting-CNC from 4 to 28 July 2018.
The German trainer Mr Hartmut Stein, a well experienced expert in CNC-manufacturing, elaborated: “It has become obvious that the key teachers could build upon a solid foundation, on competencies that they have acquired during the previous metal cutting training courses as part of a comprehensive further training concept for TVET teachers and trainers in the region.”