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Vietnamese labor market advised to embrace 'Nordic model'

Vietnamese labor market advised to embrace 'Nordic model'

Monday, April 01, 2024, 14:31 GMT+7
Vietnamese labor market advised to embrace 'Nordic model'
Representatives from Vietnam and Nordic countries discuss labor market issues during the Northern European Day in Ho Chi Minh City, March 20, 2024. Photo: Nghi Vu / Tuoi Tre

As suggested by representatives of Nordic countries, shifting the labor market toward high-tech industries and technologies, along with fostering a high-skilled workforce, is key to helping Vietnam achieve the goals of becoming a higher-income country and reaching the net-zero emissions target by 2050.

The embassies of Nordic countries collaborated with Fulbright University Vietnam to organize the Northern European Day 2024 last month, centered around enhancing Vietnam's labor market adaptability with Nordic experience and recommendations.

The 'Nordic model'

At the event held at Fulbright University Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, speakers emphasized that mobility requires a focus on innovation, digitization, vocational training, education, skill development, and investment in research and development.

"Employers, unions, and governments in the Nordic region collaborate closely, which has resulted in a well-developed social safety net for individuals," Ambassador of Sweden Ann Måwe stated.

"This model, known as 'the Nordic model,' has garnered international attention and is credited for the region's resilience during the recent economic crisis.

“Free education and substantial investment in research contribute to a highly skilled population and a modern, high-tech society."

She also highlighted the importance of developing robust plans including social insurance systems to face challenges such as an aging population, which will eventually be a pressing reality for Vietnam.

According to Fulbright University Vietnam, the 'Nordic model' offers valuable lessons on how to improve and adapt the labor market to meet the demands of the global green economy.

Kjell Håkan Närfelt, chief strategy advisor at the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), said that for an economy to drive innovation successfully, it requires a combination of talent, access to capital, knowledge institutions, and an established corporate fabric willing to engage in collaborative efforts within the ecosystem.

“For example, in Vietnam, talent is key to this. It's individual and intellectual capital, which comes in with addressing and investing in human resources. You have to create role models that inspire others,” Närfelt said.

Närfelt confirmed that this combination was instrumental in Sweden's success in the late 1800s and has continued to be a driving force in the country's prosperity throughout the 1990s and the past two decades.

How can it be applied to Vietnam?

Vietnam is a developing country, thus it is still lacking in many resources compared to developed Nordic countries.

Therefore, representatives from Vietnamese vocational schools raised the question of how to apply 'the Nordic model’ here.

Sanna Nummela, service director at EduCluster Finland, pointed out that all the education models need to be localized for their success.

Under the circumstances of limited resources, Nummela suggested that Vietnamese vocational schools start with their teachers.

Nummela suggested providing training in pedagogical skills, competencies, methods, and tools to educators, enabling them to understand the current and future demands for skills and competencies. This would empower them to proactively plan their teaching accordingly.

She also emphasized the importance of the collaboration between schools and businesses.

Therefore, the connection should not stop at just visiting companies or getting the signals, but it is about how to build the curriculum together in order to serve the labor markets better.

“The main thing is that vocational schools are not there just for youngsters to study something," Nummela added.

"They are there for a working life, for getting people to work, and taking the right people to the right places.”

Ingrid Christensen, country director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in Vietnam, said that even small companies can contribute to the task.

Christensen told Tuoi Tre News that alongside schools, there should be businesses, even small ones, involved in assisting and enhancing the skills and training of workers.

“It’s very important to involve the private sector," she said.

The leader of the ILO in Vietnam believed that training efforts should focus on employable skills, meaning that workers should know how to apply the skills they have learned to practical work.

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Nghi Vu / Tuoi Tre News


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