PHUKET: An agreement has been signed between representatives of the business sector and the Office of Vocational Education Commission (OVEC) for vocational institutes to provide graduates and part-time students to work in tourism and service industries, which are now in need of about 30,000 workers in this southern island resort province.
Flying Officer Somporn Pandam, the OVEC deputy secretary-general, said the private sector is now in need of a large number of quality and skilled workers. With information from business operators, OVEC will adjust its study courses to produce graduates with the qualifications needed to enter the labour market right after graduation.
Phuket can serve as the prototype for other vocational institutes and businesses in the country to follow suit, he added.
Witthaya Ketchu, director of the Phuket Vocational College, said since after the improvement of the Covid-19 situation, Phuket tourism has quickly regained its past boom, resulting in the shortage of about 30,000 workers in the tourism and service industries.
Phuket Vocational College has since played a significant role in solving the probem by organising job bazaars offering job opportunities and inviting students and skilled workers from elsewhere including the Andaman group provinces to attend.
“The agreement signed today is also for over 3,000 business firms and 48 educational institutes under OVEC to arrange for students to work part time in Phuket during a vacation. It is hoped this would help solve the labour shortage in the province,” Mr Witthaya said.
Mr Narong, the Phuket governor, said solving the labour shortage is part of the province’s preparations to host the Expo 2028 to push for Thailand and Phuket to be an international medical hub in five years.
Mr Suksit, president of the Thai Hoteliers Assocation of the South, said Phuket’s tourism started to improve in 2022. The hotel occupancy rate rose from 40% in mid-2022 to 70% in late 2022. The average occupancy rate in January-March 2023 was 88%, compared to 86% before Covid-19.
The unexpected quick recovery of the tourism industry has resulted in the labour shortage, he added.
He hoped the agreement signed on Sunday would be an answer to the problem.
The signing ceremony was held at the City Hall on Sunday. Narong Woonciew, the Phuket governor, and Flying Officer Somporn, deputy secretary-general of OVEC, were among the signatories, both in the public and private sectors.
Those representing the private sector included Charin Thamrongkiatikul, chairman of the Phuket Industrial Council, and Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the Thai Hoteliers Association of the South.