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Vietnam boosts aquaculture training with Norwegian support

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO) have begun a two-year program to improve the quality of vocational training in Vietnamese aquaculture.
Vietnam boosts aquaculture training with Norwegian support

The program, as reported by Vietnam News, aims to link businesses and vocational training schools, and reinforce their collaboration in order to create a skilled workforce that is able to meet the requirements of aquaculture employers.

It will also seek to expand awareness of career opportunities in aquaculture among parents and high school students, said Bùi Thị Ninh, head of the bureau for employers’ activities at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC).

The program will be piloted in Đồng Tháp Province in the Mekong Delta, home of Vietnam’s pangasius farming industry, and Khánh Hòa Province on the country’s central coast, where grouper and barramundi are farmed and lobster is ranched.

Spiny lobster ranching in sea cages was first developed in the province in 1992 and has since expanded to 35,000 lobster cages in just over a decade. The industry is said to be worth USD 100 million (EUR 89.7 million), with main markets in China and Taiwan.

Speaking at the program launch in Ho Chi Minh City on 14 June, Võ Tân Thành, director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in that city, said fisheries is one of the Vietnam’s key economic sectors. Aquaculture and fishing output exceeded USD 6.7 million tons while export earnings reached USD 7 billion (EUR 6.3 billion) last year.

The industry employs around nine million people directly and indirectly, but more than 60 per cent are unskilled, he said.

Tore Myhre, director of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise’s International Department, said investing in skills development, especially vocational training, is important to improve the productivity and profitability of companies involved in fish farming. Aquaculture is a sector that is growing in importance for both countries, he said.

NHO and VCCI, together with Vietnamese and Norwegian industry players, have identified a need for more skilled and productive operators in their value chain from production to processing, he said.

"The current availability of vocational training for the aquaculture industry is limited despite an increase in demand for human resources. The aquaculture industry is also becoming more technically advanced, which increases the demand for skilled workers.

“Working in aquaculture is perceived by many as a low-status job often associated with heavy manual labor. The industry is, however, in rapid development, and needs to attract motivated and skilled young professionals.

“For this to happen, one needs to increase knowledge among parents and young students about what it means to work on a modern fish farm.”

The project would address this through various career guidance initiatives, he said.

Thành said since 2010 the VCCI HCM, with technical support from NHO, has co-operated with the Đồng Nai College of High Technology and companies in Đồng Nai Province to pilot a training program in mechanical engineering and hospitality.

Ninety-seven percent of students from this training program have gotten jobs after graduating, with the quality of their training deeply appreciated by employers, he said. Following its success, NHO and the VCCI HCM have expanded their cooperation to the aquaculture sector, he added.