Vocational education in Laos (VELA)

Project description

Title: Vocational education in Laos (VELA)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) 
Country: Laos
Lead executing agency: Lao Ministry of Education and Sport; Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare
Overall term: 2013 to 2018

: Students planting vegetables during practical class.  Photo credit © GIZ/ Phoonsab Thevongsa


Laos’ consistently strong economic growth over the last 10 years has raised the demand for workers of all skill levels. Following the launch of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015, Laos had to ensure an appropriately qualified workforce reap the benefits of the AEC. However, employers still find it difficult to recruit qualified people in urban areas. At the same time, rural areas are characterised by underemployment.

The technical vocational education and training (TVET) system has, so far, been unable to provide flexible, future-oriented training and qualifications which are in line with labour market requirements, both in urban and rural settings. Due to the low involvement of employers in TVET, the lack of adequate resources and the absence of professional expertise, there are significant shortcomings in the quality and relevance of the training provided. In addition, significant inequalities exist in accessing TVET, in particular for disadvantaged groups.

In close cooperation with the Lao Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW), the project supports the reform of the TVET system from a supply-driven to a demand-driven approach that more closely reflects the needs of the labour market. It does so by supporting reforms and regulatory improvements, and by involving the private sector in the development of occupational standards and curricula.


Vocational schools and private enterprises plan and deliver TVET programmes jointly in a dual-cooperative training (DCT) approach. Students learn practical skills in a work environment, which better prepares them to meet the demands of the labour market.

Teacher demonstrating to students in carpentry class.  Photo credit © GIZ/ Phoonsab Thevongsa


To establish DCT approaches for vocational training, the project supports up to 720 apprenticeships in companies. Moreover, through its Inclusive Access Fund (IAF), the project provides scholarships to disadvantaged groups to ensure a socially inclusive system. The candidates benefit from short courses and can attain two levels of nationally recognised certification: C1 and C2.

The four components of the project are interlinked and address the following areas: a.) strengthening the vocational education system, taking into account factors such as uniformity and legal security; addressing the negative developments; and orienting the system to the imminent process of ASEAN integration; b.) involving employers with a view to significantly enhancing work productivity and increasing employment opportunities for young people; c.) including disadvantaged population groups, taking into account factors such as physical distances, access to vocational education, and affordability; d) improving the quality of teacher training for vocational schools.


The project has been an important driver for the development of the regulatory framework. TVET Development Plan 2016-2020 and implementing regulations for both IVET and DCT were developed with assistance of the project. Support was also given to the development of regulatory documents for the National Training Fund (NTF) and the National Qualification Framework (NQF).

In DCT, the project developed curricula and training calendars for 10 profiles. At the end of the project, DCT programmes will have been introduced in six TVET schools and more than 50 partner companies.

With its cooperation with 17 IVET schools, by the end of the project, 8,500 participants will have graduated from C1, and 1,100 from C2 courses. Curricula for C1 and C2 courses were developed and revised in cooperation with VEDI and professional institutions.

The project has introduced a toolbox and trained 74 TVET teachers and school management staff at 23 TVET and IVET schools. It will support teachers in applying their theoretical knowledge of inclusive and learner-oriented teaching methodologies in practical classroom situations.

Student practicing in the animal husbandry workshop. Photo credit © GIZ/ Phoonsab Thevongsa

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