Deepening skills development needed for Vietnam in transition to Industry 4.0: ADB report

Wednesday, 2021-01-20 09:29:56
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Processing seafood at Hai Nam Company Limited, Binh Thuan Province. (Photo: NDO/Dinh Chau)
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NDO – Developing dedicated technical and vocational education and training programmes is essential for Vietnam to enable its transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), increasing worker productivity and the country’s competitiveness, a new study of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) suggested.

ADB’s study “Reaping the Benefits of Industry 4.0 Through Skills Development in Vietnam” examined the logistics and agro-processing industries in the country, which are both important for growth, employment, international competitiveness and 4IR.

It has found that 4IR technologies may eliminate between a quarter and a third of jobs in these industries, but these would be more than offset by new labour demand, which could lead to positive job gains in both sectors.

According to the report, as the impact of COVID-19 on supply and value chains, Vietnam’s agro-processing industry would need to adjust to shifting consumer behaviour. While logistics should see a post-pandemic upswing due to the growth of e-commerce and the changing nature of retail, both industries would have to embrace digital supply chains and launch digital initiatives – rendering the need to upskill and reskill even more urgent.

While 68% of training institutions in Vietnam reported feeling adequately equipped for 4IR, this was lower than its regional neighbours which are part of the four-country study, including Cambodia (73%), the Philippines (81%) and Indonesia (95%).

There is also a mismatch in perceptions between training institutions and employers in the preparedness of graduates to work. Only 4% of training institutions reported using online training platforms while 18% reported using augmented reality and virtual reality tools for training.

ADB Principal Education Specialist Shanti Jagannathan said that as 4IR technologies spread rapidly, extensive investments in digital skills would help the young and old improve their chances to access higher quality jobs and lower the risk of job losses.

She suggested to re-think delivery of skills using virtual platforms and mobile technologies, while developing agile training institutions with courses and credentials that match labour market needs.

ADB Country Director for Vietnam Andrew Jeffries affirmed that adequate and timely investments in skills development could help the country not only to harness the potential of 4IR to increase productivity but also to ensure the 4IR will benefit workers at large.

While applications of 4IR technologies would help the country move up the value chain in products and services, Vietnam should consider new approaches to ensure inclusion and social protection for entry level workers, especially those at risk of job displacement and those who need upskilling, Jeffries suggested.