Viet Nam

Learning for the future

Booming Viet Nam reforms TVET taking the German system as an example

Michael Tatarski
Thomas Imo/

What is common practice in Germany, with a dual system which combines training at vocational schools and in industry, is just being established in Viet Nam. More than 2 million students at the country’s 2,000 or so TVET centres are still learning a great deal of theory and acquiring very few practical skills. That is not what industry needs. Demand for highly skilled workers is high in this booming Southeast Asian economy. That is why, on behalf of BMZ, GIZ is helping the Vietnamese Government establish a system of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) based on the success factors of Germany’s own system. Four testimonials from the LILAMA 2 International Technology College in the province of Dong Nai, close to Ho Chi Minh City, illustrate how this works.

‘In Germany I learned to combine theory and practice’


Nguyen Thi Thuc Han (38), teacher in the Department of Industrial Electronics


‘I’ve been at the College since 2010. Before GIZ came, we had very limited equipment, and our training programmes were not geared to the needs of industry. If we wanted the students to practice more, the teachers themselves had to bring in simple tools for them to work on. Since GIZ came, so much has changed. We have a lot more and better equipped workshops with new machinery, including a universal milling machine, a lathe machine, and a circular metal cutting saw. Even more importantly though, the training programme is based on the exact needs of industry in Viet Nam. We look at what is produced and at the machinery available. Young people now get training along German lines. This was made possible in part by providing in-service training for us teachers. Courses covered technical skills and teaching methodologies. And we learned how to best combine practical training and theoretical training. In 2015 I was sent to Erfurt, Germany for 6 weeks of further advanced training at different schools. And the process of training is ongoing. This has increased our workload. Our days are full of teaching, and throughout the year we need to do in-service training. But every day is exciting, full of new challenges and experiences. The students like it very much. They’re really interested in practical training, though sometimes we have to remind them that training is not only about practical skills. You need to know the principles, and you need the background knowledge.’

‘Our model makes us pioneers’


Nguyen Khanh Cuong (44), Rector of the LILAMA 2 International Technology College

‘We really put our heart and soul into TVET and we are consistently improving the training we offer. The training we now provide is based on the example of the German training system. That helps our graduates to get good jobs and to earn an income for themselves and their families. When we recruit students, we don’t focus only on school grades, but also look at soft skills like communication and problem-solving. English skills are definitely an advantage. We all knew before this programme started that TVET means cooperating with industry, but through the support of GIZ, we have learned more about the dual training system and specific training in individual areas. We have incorporated this into our model, which combines school-based teaching with work in industry. This is important in view of our young population and our rapidly expanding industrial sector. Determining exactly what companies want was a lot of work, and then we had to figure out how to assess the students in the German programme. We can be very proud of what we have achieved so far, and it brings benefits not only to our learners and the College, but also to our partners in industry. We have two advisory boards, and they provide feedback from the enterprises involved in the training programme. We also receive feedback from business associations on how the training can best meet industry’s needs. Moving forward, we see Industry 4.0 as major a challenge, and an opportunity. To prepare best for the extensive digitalisation of manufacturing, we need the best possible TVET, well trained staff and appropriate equipment. Our model makes us pioneers.‘

‘With my training I can work just as well as the men’


Phan Thi Hai Tien (21), student in the cooperative programme for mechatronics

‘I began training at LILAMA 2 International Technology College almost three years ago. Even as a child, I wanted to be a mechanic. All the other girls dreamed of an office job in an air-conditioned office or of a career in the fashion world, but I wanted to work on machines. I’m not sure where this interest came from, it was just always there. When I found out about the mechatronics programme offered by LILAMA 2, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. The training programme is geared to working conditions in manufacturing industry. I saw that immediately during my practical work experience which is part of the training course. At the College we learn on exactly the same machines used in industry, like electric switch boxes. But we don’t only work in the College workshops. Instructors from industry show us how to use their machinery and systems on the spot. I am confident that when I start work I know what to expect. I’m nearly finished with my programme, and I still want to learn as much as I can. Even though I’m one of only two girls in the class, I don’t feel lonely at all. If we need to do something with the machinery that needs a lot of physical strength, our male classmates help. That is also true of the teachers. I have developed a lot of self-confidence. When I finish here I’m sure I’ll be good at my job. I can be a little choosy. I’m looking for a good company so I can start my career there. I like installing equipment, programming equipment and developing the programmes. With my training I can work just as well as the men.’

‘The training offered suits us well’


Le Thi Thu Uyen (43), Vice Director, Martech Boiler Company Limited

‘We offer advisory services as well as designing, manufacturing and installing industrial boilers. We are currently looking at expanding into the field of wind turbines. We started to work with LILAMA 2 at the end of 2017. The training offered at the College suits us well. At the start of our partnership, things moved very quickly. I was informed that a group of German experts from the College wanted to visit our factory to see whether we were suitable to be a partner in the training programme. They assessed our equipment very carefully, and our capacity to host students. When the first students arrived, I had to structure everything so that the practical training could take place as planned. Young people have a lot of advantages: enthusiasm, time, and they’re very ambitious about their career. But many don’t have self-awareness, they don’t understand yet what they really want. When they make a decision about a career, often it is not an informed decision. That is a challenge! We have had three groups of students here so far for practical training. The first was a group of 23 construction mechanics students, but some were not really focused. We were forced to send seven back. This was a learning experience. Following our feedback, the College worked with students on their attitudes. We could see the improvement clearly in the second and third groups. In future the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in training – the students, the college and the company – should be more clearly defined. For example, we train the students and invest in them, but if we would like them to stay and work for us, they can refuse. That is a bit frustrating. On the other hand we accept that we’re not working just for the benefits of a company –  we’re also contributing to the country and to society.’


21,000 young people
every year have benefited so far from German-Vietnamese cooperation in the TVET sector.


85 per cent
of graduates find a job.


Graduates receive wages 25 per cent
higher than the Vietnamese average.

Contact: Jürgen Hartwig,

Find out more in an Interview with Jürgen Hartwig

akzente June 2020