“I want people from disadvantaged groups to find a job.”

Initial vocational education and training
Mr. Keo Phongmany works for the Learning for Development Association (LDA) in Oudomxay Province. He is passionate about community development, particularly for people with different disabilities.

With his extended experience in social work and community development, Keo was selected in 2020 to be one of the coaches for employment of the VTESS project. Coaches for employment play an essential role in supporting young disadvantaged people from the coaching cycle gain technical skills, soft skills and increase their employability in the labour market.

“I want to support unemployed people to have a job and secondly, I want to support people with disabilities to increase their employability” explains Keo.

Keo ensured his group of participants was diverse and inclusive, with young people from various ethnic minorities. During the first group coaching sessions, the ESS participants learned how to work in small groups and exchange, increasing their team working and communication skills.

Keo expressed warmly about his relationship with the VTESS team. "I can contact the VTESS team for advice. With the Covid-19 situation, we adapted and communicate mainly online. We also organize regular catch ups meetings with other ESS coaches and the VTESS team to update each other on our progress and exchange on the implementation of our activities."

Image: Keo and coaches are sharing ideas during the workshop

2021 has been an exceptionally challenging year for Keo and the other ESS coaches. Aside from some activities’ delay due to the pandemic, Keo applies his "peer to peer" approach to coach his participants more intensively for them to grasp knowledge better. 

The pandemic pushed Keo and the other ESS coaches to explore alternative formats and approaches to their activities. "COVID-19 really impacted our activities." says Keo. Some participants withdrew from the coaching cycle. Keo tried to prevent this by explaining the benefits of the programme to their parents and to find a solution,

"I want them to see how beneficial the coaching cycle is for them as it will support them develop not only their technical skills but also soft skills."

Since the second Covid-19 outbreak in April 2021, the training of coaches was adapted to a blended format with a mix of online sessions and in-person working groups with coaches from the same province. Coaches could unfortunately not travel to Vientiane for training like during the first training of coaches.

"“I want to support unemployed people to have a job and secondly, I want to support people with disabilities to increase their employability”"
- Keo Phongmany 
2019 - 2023
Initial vocational education and training
Vocational Training and Employment Support Services in Laos
VTESS will be an important vehicle to support the build-up and strengthening of an inclusive vocational education and training system in Laos. The focus will be on the strengthening of the Integrated Vocational and Education Training (IVET) pathway in order to facilitate the school to work transition of early school leavers, to provide them with...