Decent Employment for Youth in Cambodia (Phase II)

Following remarkable achievements in a two-year initial phase, the “Decent Employment for Youth in Cambodia – DEY” is now implementing its second phase for a period of four years (1 January 2020 to 31 December 2023), with the participation of four United Nations Agencies, including ILO (leading agency), UNESCO, UNICEF and UNIDO and with strategic support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and other funding partners. The programme intends to support young women and men in Cambodia to increasingly obtain decent and productive employment opportunities by ensuring that they are better able to meet labour market demand and are prepared for quality employment.

TVET students practicing their session on NTTI campus, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. ©ILO. 2020

Background

Cambodia has the fourth largest youth population in the South-East Asia region (UNDESA, 2020). As of 2019, one in six Cambodians aged between 15 and 24, and more than one fourth of the population aged between 15 and 29. 70% percent of young people aged 15-29 were economically active in 2019. Despite the very low rate of youth unemployment, the quality and stability of employment remain a big concern in Cambodia. Therefore, there needs to be in place decent responses that can reap the benefits of the demographic dividend and enhance quality of work for young people across the country.

To continue responding to the youth employment challenges in Cambodia, the second phase of the “Decent Employment for Youth in Cambodia - DEY” programme (DEY II) has been launched in 2020 and being implemented by four UN agencies--ILO, UNESCO, UNICEF and UNIDO. The youth employment challenges being addressed by DEY II are clustered into four important areas: (i) the systemic skills deficit within Cambodia’s youth population at a time of rapid technological change; (ii) the mismatch between labour market requirements and the skills of young people; (iii) weaknesses in the country’s entrepreneurship and business ecosystem as a source of employment and livelihood; and (iv) high levels of informality, vulnerability and inadequate quality of work.

Carrying on from phase I, DEY II aims to support young women and men in Cambodia to increasingly obtain decent and productive employment opportunities by ensuring they are better able to meet labour market demands and are prepared for quality employment.

To support the overarching goal, DEY II is aiming at achieving the following outcomes:

1. Young women and men in Cambodia have demand-driven skills and competencies, including soft, life, green and digital skills which are relevant to current and future labour market needs.
2. Young women and men in Cambodia have adequate entrepreneurial capacity and increasingly access business development services.
3. Young women and men in Cambodia are able to make career decisions based on relevant knowledge and support services for decent and productive employment.
TVET student practicing her session on NTTI campus, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. ©ILO. 2020

The programme also aims at supporting the implementation of the National Employment Policy 2015-2025, the National TVET Policy 2017-2025, the Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025 and the National Policy on Youth Development 2011; augmenting the focus of these policies towards the decent employment for young women and men; and contributing to the implementation of the COVID-19 policy responses of the RGC during this pandemic time, in particular in the area of education and training, employment and incomes.

By 2023, DEY II intends to provide direct benefit to 170,900 youths (of whom 50 percent are female) through industry-driven skills and competencies development initiatives; basic education equivalency and literacy in factory programmes; entrepreneurship and enterprise development training and support initiatives; employment services; and youth rights at work awareness raising programmes. Within this youth population, DEY II is expected to support 3,000 young women and men to obtain employment/self-employment. Of these, 1,000 will be in formal employment and 200 will be in formal self-employment, with decent monthly earnings at least equal to minimum wage of Cambodia’s garment and footwear sector for employment in manufacturing sector, or a 10 percent increase in the baseline salary for the employment in other selected sectors.

To maximize impact, DEY II focuses on four sectors which are bundled into two main clusters: (i) Tourism and Agro-business; (ii) Construction and Manufacturing. While the policy supports will benefit the young people nationwide, DEY II focuses its implementation of activities in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and their surrounding provinces such as Kandal, Takeo, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kampong Cham, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey.

While contributing to decent employment opportunities and access for all young women and men, DEY II prioritizes vulnerable young women and men in school and out of school as its ultimate beneficiaries. They also include those in informal work; labour migrants (external and internal and migrant returnees); persons with disability; indigenous communities and other ethnic minorities; LGBTQI persons; and persons living with HIV; those from and living in rural setting of target geographical locations; and those affected by COVID-19.

The total budget for DEY II is USD 8.54 million, consisting of a US$4.06 million contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC); and US$4.48 million contributions from the core funding of participating agencies, other funding partners, private sector and the Royal Government of Cambodia.

For further information please contact:

Ms Socheata Sou
National Project Coordinator
Email: sou@ilo.org