PHUKET: The Office of the Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the province to develop an apprenticeship programme to plug labour shortages in the hospitality industry.
The MoU was signed by Phuket governor Narong Woonciew and Ovec deputy secretary-general, Flg Off Somporn Pandam, amid growing concerns the nation may not be able to take care of foreign tourists properly, due to lack of staff.
By allowing students to gain coursework credits outside the classroom, Flg Off Somporn said the government could help ensure a good supply of skilled workers for hospitality.
Students who had taken an apprenticeship prior to graduating are more likely to be hired by employers, which improves their chances of securing better positions. Flg Off Somporn said he hoped other provinces could follow Phuket’s footsteps.
Witthaya Ketchu, director of the Phuket Vocational College, said there are over 30,000 jobs on the island, but employers are having a hard time filling them, as workers’ priorities have changed as a result of the pandemic.
Phuket Vocational College has organised job bazaars for students and skilled workers seeking new jobs.
“The agreement will see over 3,000 business firms in Phuket and 48 educational institutes under Ovec offer part-time job opportunities to students during school holidays,” Mr Witthaya said.
Suksit Suvunditkul, president of the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association (THA), said the labour shortage is partly caused by increased hotel occupancy, which rose from 40% in mid-2022 to 88% in the first three months of this year.