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The vocational college without a day-off


We visited the Vocational College of Machinery and Irrigation (VCMI) in Dong Nai Province on a Sunday in May 2018 and saw groups of students in blue uniform excitedly entering their classes. The College Rector, Doctor Nguyen Van Chuong and his colleagues had arrived earlier and prepared for a usual working day. “We have more classes on Saturday and Sunday than week-days. Many vocational colleges wish to have such a work schedule!” – said Chuong cheerfully.

Dr Nguyen Van Chuong, Rector of the Vocational College of Machinery and Irrigation (VCMI)

Dr Nguyen Van Chuong, Rector of the Vocational College of Machinery and Irrigation (VCMI)

A smooth enrollment

VCMI has been operating for more than 40 years and under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development since 2014. Mr. Chuong proudly introduced the position of the college – located in the very center of the industrial zone and business activities in Ho Nai Industrial Zone, Trang Bom District, Dong Nai province. VCMI is surrounded by industrial factories and joint-venture industrial enterprises with high demand for human resources.

Most local students enroll at VCMI after high school graduation or from Grade 10, Grade 11. After securing a job, many students would like to enhance their skills and sign up for weekend classes. Therefore, VCMI has not found difficulties in student enrollment as other vocational colleges. Time and resources have been utilized to enhance training quality, strengthen collaboration with enterprises and bridge the gap between academia and the corporate world. Through training high quality students, VCMI is busy all year round. This May, the college held an enrollment campaign aiming for 1,200 new students for the next school year intake.

Currently, VCMI has been promoting industrial linkages by delivering joint-training programs which comprise 30%-40% of theory at the college, and 60%-70% of practice at factories and companies in the province. “We cooperate closely with VCMI and provide their students with internship and practice opportunities. Through the recruitment process, we found that with basic training from the vocational college and practical experiences, these students adapted more quickly to the company’s environment,” said Mr. Nguyen Vuong Long, Deputy Director of Global Powersports Manufacturing Inc., VPIC.

The VCMI students were offered jobs right after their graduation. More impressively, many students did not need to apply for a job because they received job offers during internship at the enterprises and factories.

Students of Vocational College of Machinery and Irrigation

Students of Vocational College of Machinery and Irrigation in a forklift operator training class

The vocational school striving for international cooperation

Given the significant impact of international cooperation and exchanges in promoting modern infrastructure investment, technology transfer, curricula development and updating, vocational training skills, VCMI has cooperated with international cooperation agencies from Germany, Japan, Spain, etc. Currently, seven academic leaders and trainers from VCMI are participating in a Study Tour in Australia, under the Aus4Skills Program. Thus, the Rector had to take over some office and administrative work. “Yes, my work volume increased but I am very happy! I truly believe that my colleagues will learn new, advanced things in Australia and then apply them to VCMI in the upcoming years – This thought makes me happy and keeps me going forward!” – shared Mr. Nguyen Van Chuong. 

The story of how VCMI participated in the Aus4Skills Program and the Logistics Industry Reference Council (LIRC) is another interesting experience. “At first, when we met experts from the program, we were unsure what activities we could participate in. After detailed discussions, we were surprised that VCMI had been delivering training for logistics vocations for a long time but did not exactly know it. After that, we enthusiastically participated in the LIRC and dispatched lecturers to training courses on management, evaluation and development of occupational standards. In the near future, curricula for four vocations in the logistics industry will be designed and conducted in accordance with Australian occupational standards.” shared Mr. Chuong. 

VCMI has conducted training courses updated with APEC Occupational Standards for the Forklift Operator occupation. Mr. Chuong excitedly introduced a practice field for Forklift Operators which was initiated by him after a study tour in Australia. “It might look simple but we need to learn it directly and specifically. During the study tour in Australia I took photos of the practice field and made a similar one for VCMI. This vocation requires precision, for example, a minor mistake in lifting and arranging electrical components will lead to severe damage, so this requires highly-skilled labor.” – said Chuong. 

In the logistics job market, the demand for Forklift Operators is on the rise. Tuition fee for three month’s training at VCMI is 3.5 million Vietnam Dong. The salary for fresh graduates is approximately 6 to 7 million Vietnam Dong per month at airports, seaports, stations, warehouse systems, industrial, export, and processing zones. In this very center of industrial activities, highly-skilled labor is “hunted” by companies! 

VCMI’s trainees are not only Grade 10, 11, 12 students and workers but also those from disadvantaged groups, those who need support to integrate into the community. The college and its members are keen on helping them to have a new vocation and start a new life, as one of VCMI’s social responsibilities.

VCMI’s lecturers recall special classes in which some trainees were still under confinement. With almost zero tuition fees, the hope for stable jobs, confidence in reintegrating into society, and brighter lives for the trainees, these lecturers are inspired to teach and share their knowledge and experiences. Their efforts have been paid off by an outpouring of admiration and affection from the trainees.

This lasting affection has helped us to go forward and contribute to the VCMI” – shared Chuong.

Currently, VCMI is finalizing occupational standards for Logistics Administration Officer and Warehouse Supervisor for integrating into our training curricula in the near future. The academic officers and lecturers who have participated and will participate in training courses in Australia under Aus4Skills Program will be key trainers for these vocations in accordance with international standards,” said Dr. Nguyen Van Chuong, Rector of VCMI.

Source: Translation of an article on GD&TD