Improving vocational education in the Lao PDR (VELA)

Project description

Title: Vocational Education Lao PDR (VELA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Laos
Lead executing agency: Lao Ministry of Education and Sport, Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Overall term: 2019 to 2022

Teacher at a TVET College giving a practical lesson to students in the Food/Beverages and Food Production Professionals course.


After years of economic growth in the Lao PDR up to 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has now led to a recession. In addition, employment generation and poverty reduction have remained relatively low. Enterprises, especially in the country’s urban centres, complain about the lack of skilled workers, while youth unemployment is high and has increased.

So far, the national Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system has provided few graduates with the skills required by the Lao labour market. Both the public and private sector have not yet succeeded in establishing TVET models that equip jobseekers with flexible and needs-oriented qualifications for enterprises. This has proved to be a key barrier to economic growth, particularly in the economically more dynamic provinces of the country.


Dual-Cooperative Training (DCT) courses for relevant professions have been established in dynamic economic centres in the Lao PDR to better meet the needs of the country’s labour market.

In-company trainer supervising students while they practice in the Automotive Mechanic course.


VELA supports the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) in further developing and consolidating Dual-Cooperative Training (DCT) in close cooperation between the state and the private sector.

The project provides four TVET institutions and more than 100 enterprises to jointly planning, organising and implementing DCT in provinces with a high demand for skilled labour. A DCT Service Center and provincial TVET Help Desks provide tailor-made services to support businesses in their realisation of DCT.

In addition, the private sector is encouraged and given practical support to play a more active role in the management and steering of DCT in close coordination with public actors.

Last update: September 2021