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52 tourism and hospitality teachers have completed a summer challenge to improve their English language skills under the Skills for Tourism (LAO/029) project

Published Monday August 21 2017

52 tourism and hospitality teachers from 17 schools and colleges have completed a summer challenge to improve their English language skills under the Skills for Tourism (LAO/029) project implemented by  LuxDev - Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency . The English language training programme was delivered by  Vientiane College  - the first of its kind in the Lao PDR - and is an exemplary model for upgrading language skills of young professionals.

Participants were completely immersed in English language six days a week for one month. Not only was English taught in the classroom, participants were given another key tool necessary for language acquisition - application outside the classroom. Participants live together, share meals and coffee breaks with English discussion topics, undertake projects, meet international guests from around the world and experience motivational talks from local role models working in tourism and hospitality.

While learning English was the key focus of the programme, participants also learned how to develop their own teaching skills and apply modern techniques to engage students.

“Going back to school, especially for teachers, can be a daunting experience but these teachers embraced the opportunity with excitement and enthusiasm,” said Mr. Nouphanh Outsa, Director General of the TVET Department, Ministry of Education and Sports.

“With over a thousand students enrolled in TVET tourism and hospitality programmes in 2016-17 improving English language proficiency as well as technical skills, is a game changer when it comes to securing a job in the sector. Empowering teachers with the skills and tools to teach, and the confidence to lead by example, is an essential part of ensuring that students complete their studies successfully and secure employment in the industry”, he added.

“Being bilingual opens a wide range of employment opportunities for students especially in the tourism and hospitality sector and help students to excel in service quality. Improved competitiveness in the sector should lead to increased employment, creating opportunities for a growing number of young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to transition into decent jobs in the sector”, remarked Mrs. Barbara Jäggi Hasler, Deputy Director of Cooperation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The tourism sector in Lao PDR has expanded rapidly, with international arrivals increasing from 14,400 in 1990 to over 4.2 million in 2016. Direct employment in tourism is substantial, with participation in the tourism labor force seen as having significant potential to increase poor peoples’ share of tourism-related income.

“The Government of Luxembourg is delighted to continue its support for tourism and hospitality skills development in Lao PDR. English language skills are linked to employability in the sector. With this and other initiatives, the Skills for Tourism project is helping to bridge the gap between the large number of young job-seekers in Lao PDR, particularly youth and the employment potential of the sector.”, said Mr. Claude Jentgen, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Luxembourg in Lao PDR.

The 15 million EUR Skills for Tourism project – funded by Luxembourg and Switzerland/ Swiss Cooperation Mekong  – improves vocational education and skills development for the tourism/hospitality sector. The project is aligned with the Government of Lao PDR’s 8th National Socio-Economic Development Plan and the country’s vision for TVET – the development of a labor force linked to national and provincial socio-economic development in key sectors including tourism, as well as ASEAN and international integration.