Laos, in conjunction with Team Europe partners Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the European Union, recently announced the Skills for Tourism, Agriculture, and Forestry (STAF) program, which is supported by a substantial €25 million (US$26 million) budget.
STAF’s primary goal is to increase the employability of young men and women in the tourism, agriculture, and forestry industries through the provision of technical and financial assistance. This includes enhancing the quality of training, increasing access to courses (including scholarships for disadvantaged students), and facilitating the transition from training to employment or entrepreneurship.
The program intends to directly benefit more than 20,000 young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, thereby contributing to increased employability, job creation, economic development, and poverty reduction in Laos.
This instatement of this programme also comes at a pivotal moment as Laos intensifies its tourism drive, set to be unveiled at the Asean Tourism Forum 2024. Improving the abilities of its young labor force will play a crucial role in Laos’s growth as a high-quality tourism destination.
The inaugural Program Steering Committee meeting, chaired by Phout Simmalavong, Laos’ minister of education and sports, marked the beginning of STAF. Representatives from Luxembourg, the European Union, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) co-chaired the event.
The governments of Laos, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the European Union provide funding for the STAT programme, whose implementation is managed by the Ministry of Education and Sports of Laos in collaboration with LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.