Vocational Education and Training Laos (VELA)

Progetto concluso
Students during a practical training session at a vocational school, Lao PDR. © Adrian Gnaegi.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supports a reform of technical and vocational education and training in Lao PDR to ensure that Lao youth—particularly from marginalized groups—have access to quality education, can obtain a high level of skills, and can find and keep well-paid jobs.

Paese/Regione Tema Periodo Budget
Formazione professionale
Impiego & sviluppo economico
Formazione professionale
Creazione di occupazione
01.01.2013 - 30.06.2019
CHF  12’900’000

During the past ten years, Lao PDR has experienced unprecedented growth in foreign direct investments—particularly in the mining, hydropower, and agribusiness industries—and has successfully reduced the national poverty rate by nearly two percentage points per year. However, despite impressive growth, many young Lao people cannot find gainful employment.

The growth of the natural resources-based sectors, such as hydropower and mining, has failed to create many new jobs for Lao people. About seventy percent of the Lao population still relies on agriculture for food and income, and the country faces a major challenge to diversify its economy and create jobs in the industry and services sectors.

Employers in Lao PDR report a lack of skilled labor and a mismatch between the supply of human resources and the demands of the labor market. More than 100,000 foreign, highly skilled workers have migrated into Lao PDR, while an estimated 300,000 Laotians have migrated abroad to find jobs that require fewer skills. Labor migration—and therefore competition over jobs—is expected to increase once the ASEAN Community enters into force in 2015, opening the country’s borders to a free flow of goods, services, capital, and skilled workers.

The Lao government has formulated a new law on vocational education to ensure that the national education offers match the demands of the labor market. The law provides, among other things, that ethnic minorities, women and people in remote, rural areas can develop skills and escape poverty. SDC is supporting the reform of technical and vocational education and training in Lao PDR in line with the government’s ongoing efforts.


SDC aims to ensure that Lao youth, particularly disadvantaged groups, have access to quality vocational education and training and that the Lao education system is able to meet the quantitative and qualitative needs of the Lao labor market now and in the future.


Risultati principali attesi:  

SDC, in partnership with GI Z and BMZ, expects that VELA will achieve the following results by 2018:

  • The Lao government will have adopted and implemented four decrees critical for reform (one on work place oriented training; one on vocational education opportunities for disadvantaged groups; one on strengthening the National Training Council’s operational structures and responsibilities; and one on standardized professions).
  • The National Training Council will have developed and achieved agreement on ten professional standards.
  • 75% of the students graduating from the 8 TVET schools that receive support on Dual Cooperative Training will be assessed and trained by their employers.
  • The number of on-the-job training contracts between schools and employers for the two and three year training will have increased from less than 100 in 2013 to more than 2,000.
  • 10,300 students will have completed 3 to 6 months training courses from IVET/TVET schools. 85% of the students from disadvantage backgrounds will benefit from the Inclusive Access Fund.
  • The percentage of female students will have increased from 35% to 45%; the percentage of ethnic minority students in short courses will have grown from 0% to 30%; and the total share of disadvantaged students will have increased to 70%.
  • The twelve IVET supported schools will establish new short-term non-formal training courses. At least 1,200 students who pursue a non-formal education path to a technical and vocational education and training diploma through short courses will be return students from previous courses.
  • 60% of the graduates from short courses will find work based on their new qualifications and will at least earn 25% above the minimum national wage.

Direzione/Ufficio responsabile DSC
Credito Cooperazione allo sviluppo
Partner del progetto Partner contrattuale
Instituzione statale straniera
  • National State Institute North

Altri partner

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Budget Fase in corso Budget Svizzera CHF    12’900’000 Budget svizzero attualmente già speso CHF    12’062’269
Fasi del progetto Fase 3 01.12.2023 - 30.11.2027   (Fase in corso) Fase 2 01.08.2019 - 30.11.2023   (Completed)

Fase 1 01.01.2013 - 30.06.2019   (Completed)