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The Vietnam News

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Vietnam IT workers lacking quality training, not quantity

Quality, not numbers, is hindering the supply of skilled workers for Vietnam's rapidly expanding information and communications technology industry. The latest survey of 200 HCM City software and IT training enterprises shows that the number of new graduates seeking work in the industry is five times higher than demand. But the number of these who are unemployable is alarming.

The country has 13 universities and institutes that offer BAs, MAs and Ph.Ds for IT research; 230 universities and colleges that have IT departments and 88 vocational training schools that include international programmes for IT training. If all were efficient, Vietnam would have more than 10,000 new skilled IT workers every year. Instead, about 60% of graduates have to be re-trained when they start work. Sometimes the figure is as high as 80-90%, says a World Bank report published in Hanoi early last month. The report uses the experience of international chip designer and maker Renesas as an example of the employer's plight.

It needed an initial 500 skilled workers but after advertising for two years, could find only 60 suitable employees from 1,000 applicants. The 60 selected had then to undergo re-training for 3-6 months before starting work. Of 1,965 students tested by Intel Viet Nam, only 320 obtained an acceptable result and only 90 had a mark higher than 60%. The scarcity of properly qualified workers will affect the industry's development, warns France Telecom Viet Nam director Jean Pierre Achouche. The failure to provide skilled workers is attributed to a lack of common standards for quality and certification within the education system. Teachers are abundant but their skills too are lacking - especially in English and Japanese. The number of lecturers who hold a Ph.D is very low.

Cost of poor skills

The poor skills quality of IT personnel and their teachers seemed more serious than the World Bank's figures, IT Assistant to the Prime Minister Do Trung Ta told the conference at which the report was issued. The IT expert, with others at the conference, warned that Vietnam could lose foreign investment if the skills of its workers were not improved. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan said managers of IT resources had been instructed to meet the demand for skilled workers in HCM City, Hanoi, Da Nang City from 2010. Otherwise, the commitment of international investors would be affected, he said. A flood of IT projects was arriving but investors had struck unexpected delays as they await improvement in the training of skilled labour.

Vietnam News Agency - February 14, 2008.

Workers needed for major IT projects

Five global IT giants - Intel, Renesas, Campal, Samsung and Foxconn - have invested almost US$10bil in Vietnam to produce cell phones, communication appliance and computers.

Intel Viet Nam needs about 4,000 skilled workers, including 1,000 engineers who have majored in electronics, IT and automation. The company says its demand for labour will increase after 2011. Renesas wants about 1,000 engineers. Taiwan's Foxconn plans to invest $5bil in Vietnam during the next five years and needs up to 50,000 workers. Taiwanese laptop and communication appliances maker Campal needs up to 1,200 skilled workers to send abroad to train managers as well as thousands of less-skilled workers. IBM needs 2,000 engineers; FPT needs 3,000 while Boeing needs at least 1,000 software engineers for each contract with Vietnam.

Viet Nam Software Association general secretary Pham Tan Cong says the association will need 5,000 software engineers this year. The Education and Training and the Information and Communications ministries are drafting a master plan for the training of IT personnel toward 2015. It includes recommendations to improve the skills of teaching staff with one teacher to each 15 students by 2015. The plan requires 50% of tertiary teachers to have MAs and 30% Ph.Ds and for the renewal of training methodology and improvement of English studies.

The performance of vocational training schools will be monitored and the ministry will employ experts to analyse and appraise IT training and assess the real requirements of potential IT employees.

Vietnam News Agency - February 14, 2008.