The National University of Laos and Pakpasak Technical College, with support from the World Bank and the Australian Agency for International Development, open offices to provide employments services for students.
Vientiane, October 18, 2011— Two Career Counseling Offices were officially opened today at the Faculty of Economics and Business Management of the National University of Laos and the Pakpasak Technical College in Vientiane, through support from the World Bank (WB) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID). The new offices will offer career counseling and employment services to students and recent graduates. The opening ceremony was attended by Associate Professor Somchit Souksavath, Deputy Dean of Faculty of Economics and Business Management, National University of Laos; Mr. Sithonh Bounkhongmanivanh, Deputy Director of Pakpasak Technical College; Ms. Keiko Miwa, the World Bank Country Manager to Lao PDR; Katheryn Bennett, First Secretary and Head of Development Cooperation of AusAID to Lao PDR, academics, professors and students.
“The Career Counseling Offices will provide much needed career advice and employment services to hundreds of students, with a special focus on young women. We expect that at least 40% of participating students will secure an internship or job offer within a year of graduating. In addition, the two offices will also assist interested students with long term career planning and advice so that they can be better prepared to make the transition from school to work.” said Keiko Miwa, Country Manger of the World Bank to Lao PDR.
The offices are run by staff from the academic institutes who have received training from a certified Thai Career Counselor from Fawathana College of Technology, in order to build their capacity to serve as part-time counselors. Students will now have the opportunity to meet with a trained career counselor to prepare their CV, practice interview questions or conduct a self assessment or search for recent job and internship opportunities. Already more than 100 students have participated in career training and hundreds more are anticipated to receive the training in the coming year.
Both academic institutes have successfully completed the foundational tasks of setting up the offices. A formal unit with an organizational structure and key personnel has been identified, an operations manual drafted and a database set up that will allow counselors to maintain important information about students and companies and to follow students progress in securing a job. Equipment for the offices, including a computer which students can use to access job information online, was donated by the World Bank.
“AusAID is very pleased to be supporting this initiative, which aims to assist young people, in particular women, to enhance their entrepreneurial and work readiness skills. These Career Counseling Offices are just one part of a program that provides targeted support for promoting youth entrepreneurship, and business skills training and mentoring” said Katheryn Bennett, Head of Development Cooperation, AusAID.
The Supporting Talent, Entrepreneurial Potential and Success (STEPS) initiative in Lao PDR is co-founded by the World Bank and AusAID, and consists of two main components. The first, which is coordinated with the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Lao PDR (YEAL), seeks to promote a culture of youth entrepreneurship using a ‘market-place’ model which identifies strong business ideas and support young entrepreneurs with business skills training, mentorship, and seed grants. The first Young Entrepreneur Market Place Competition 2011 targeted 3 provinces in the country: Vientiane Capital, Luang Prabang, and Champasack. The second component aims to provide employment services to students and recent graduates at tertiary-level academic institutions in Vientiane Capital. These services include work readiness skills, career advice, job placement support, and links to internship and employment opportunities in the private sector.