- LuxDev's Regional office
- Asia Office
- Education, vocationnal training and employment
- PIC 5
- 2023 - 2027
- Implementation period
- 1 January 2023 - 31 December 2027
- Total duration
- 60 months
- Total budget
- 25,180,000 EUR
- Contribution breakdown
- Luxembourg Government
With continued low school enrolment and completion rates, and even lower uptake of post-school vocational education, education and skill levels in Laos continue to lag behind its regional neighbours, reducing the country’s economic competitiveness and growth prospects.
The five-year Skills for Tourism, Agriculture and Forestry programme (STAF) 2023-2027 will focus on two key areas of future economic growth in Lao PDR:
- tourism and hospitality sector (addressed by Luxembourg Aid & Development and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation during multiple previous years);
- agriculture and forestry sector.
Both these key sectors are directly relevant and important to large numbers of some of the poorest, most disadvantaged and vulnerable workers and entrepreneurs. These sectors also offer significant potential for both green and digital growth and innovation.
The tourism industry has been hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, with a significant contraction in employment. However, as the industry recovers over the next five years, a quality supply of graduates will ensure a continued increase in the skills profile of the sector, strengthening the regional and international competitiveness of Lao PDR as a tourism destination.
The agriculture, agroindustry and processing, and forestry sectors remain major economic drivers in the four target provinces. These sectors not only employ large numbers of women, men and youth but also support large numbers of micro- and small enterprises, providing upstream and downstream services in the respective value chains. With trade and movement controls now lifted, buoyed by the investments in key road and rail transport links with China, Thailand and Vietnam, these sectors are widely expected to enjoy significant, export-driven growth in the coming years.
The programme is, therefore, ideally positioned to ensure that disadvantaged individuals and communities in rural Lao PDR have the necessary skills and capacities to take advantage of this growth and to ensure ensuing rural economic development is both inclusive and equitable.
The geographical focus will be on the four priority provinces of Bolikhamxay, Bokeo, Khammouane and Vientiane. Support to tourism and hospitality Vocational Skills Development (VSD) strengthening will extend beyond these provinces to all those where tourism is a key economic driver. Support activities in agriculture and forestry will similarly extend to Luang Prabang province where significant growth is observable in these sectors.
Interventions will necessarily target support and capacity development of a broad array of VSD stakeholders including both public and private VSD providers, key employers and value chain actors in key sectors, and both national and provincial Government agencies with VSD-related mandates. In addition, relevant line ministry and mass organisation partners will be mobilised to support and strengthen the relevance of services.
The final beneficiaries are the thousands of young women and men receiving VSD services in addition to unemployed job seekers undergoing VSD training and coaching towards self-employment and increased employability. Particular priority will be given to strengthening access to VSD for women and girls, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.
The STAF programme will focus on five key intermediate changes in pursuit of an enhanced and more industry facing VSD system:
- VSD services and their delivery are relevant and of good quality;
- the demand for quality VSD services is increased amongst employers, job seekers and entrepreneurs;
- investment in VSD services, including disadvantaged communities are more cost-effective;
- Lao people, including disadvantaged communities, have access to VSD services;
- Lao people are aware of opportunities for secure and decent wage employment.
This approach is further complemented by the collaborative investment of multiple development partners including Luxembourg Aid and Development, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the European Union.
LAOS - Cooperating for the provision of Non-Formal Vocational Skills Development in Agriculture and Forestry
On 13 and 14 December 2023, the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) Department of Non-Formal Education (DNFE), together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) Department of Agricultural Extension and Cooperatives (DAEC), supported by Skills for Tourism, Agriculture and Forestry (STAF) Programme (LAO/336), held a workshop to identify opportunities for inter-departmental cooperation for the provision of non-formal and informal agriculture and forestry vocational skills development (VSD).
The workshop was chaired by Mr Nouphanh Outsa, Director-General, MoES Department of Technical and Vocational Education, and co-chaired by Mr Sengaloun Boutsady, Deputy Director-General, MoES DNFE and Dr Phanxay Ingxay, Deputy Director-General, MAF DAEC. Workshop participants included representatives of provincial non-formal education centres, as well as provincial agriculture and forestry offices.
The workshop had two objectives:
- to introduce the agriculture and forestry components of the STAF Programme to public non-formal and informal VSD providers in Lao PDR;
- and to establish a foundation for cooperation in non-formal and informal VSD delivery.
Following presentations of the STAF Programme (and the Local Development Programme (LAO/338) with which the STAF Programme collaborates), a discussion panel comprising Mr Nouphanh Outsa, Mr Sengaloun Boutsady, Dr Phanxay Ingxay, and Mr Phetsamon Thanasack, Deputy Director-General, MAF Department of Organisation and Personnel, delved into the specific roles, responsibilities, and challenges encountered by different departments and ministries in delivering non-formal and informal VSD in agriculture and forestry. The afternoon session saw participants divided into three groups to discuss their 2024 activity plans for non-formal and informal agriculture and forestry VSD.
On the second day, participants were grouped by provinces (Bokeo, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Khammouane and Bolikhamxay) to discuss and encourage potential synergies among stakeholders within each province to execute activity plans.
During the workshop, a noticeable convergence emerged in the 2024 workplans of the DNFE and DAEC (and their provincial representatives) further underlining the importance of coordination mechanisms and ongoing dialogue to prevent duplication of effort and optimisation of benefits for people in rural communities. With a shared commitment to coordination and dialogue, the MoES and the MAF are confident that joint efforts will be undertaken, maximising the impact of non-formal and informal VSD in the agriculture and forestry sectors in Lao PDR.
The LAO/336 - Skills for Tourism, Agriculture and Forestry Programme is co-financed by Laos, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Switzerland and the European Union, and implemented by the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.
LAOS - Skills programme launched to boost tourism, agriculture forestry
The Government of Lao PDR and "Team Europe" partners, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Switzerland and the European Union, gathered this 26 September 2023 in Vientiane Capital to launch the “Skills for tourism, agriculture and forestry” (STAF) programme with a total budget of EUR 25M.
The STAF launching event coincided with the first Programme Steering committee and was chaired by H.E. Associate Professor Dr. Phout Simmalavong, Minister of Education and Sports, who was joined by the co-chairs, Mr. Thomas Lammar, Chargé d’Affaires, Luxembourg Embassy to Lao PDR, H.E. Ms Ina Marčiulionytė, Ambassador of the European Union to Lao PDR, and Ms. Aurélie Righetti, Deputy Director of Cooperation for the Mekong Region, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
Developing young people's skills and helping them find work more easily
The new five year-programme aims to improve the skills and employability of young women and men in the tourism, agriculture and forestry sectors. It will do this by providing technical and financial assistance to:
- improve the relevance and quality of training;
- increase the availability and accessibility of courses, including through the provision of scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds;
- and support learners in the transition from training to jobs or self-employment.
The STAF programme is expected to directly benefit over 20 000 young women and men, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Its interventions in the tourism sector will cover the provinces of Vientiane, Khammouane, Bolikhamxay, Bokeo, Luang Prabang, Savannakhet, Champasak, and Vientiane Capital. For agriculture and forestry, its partner provinces are Vientiane, Khammouane, Bolikhamxay, Bokeo and Luang Prabang.
The STAF programme is cofinanced by the Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Switzerland and the European Union, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.