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Institute plans to ratify 300,000 Thai workers’ professional standards by 2020

Institute plans to ratify 300,000 Thai workers’ professional standards by 2020

FRIDAY, January 15, 2016
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AT LEAST 300,000 Thai workers in industrial clusters would have their professional standards and qualifications properly ratified by fiscal year 2020 under a plan by the Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (TPQI).

The public organisation also aims to ink agreements with foreign countries, including Asean members, and various organisations in a bid to improve Thai manpower skills in the aviation sector, high-speed rail engineering, information and communications technology, English-language teaching and the public utility and service sector.
TPQI director Weerachai Srikhajorn said the focus would be on research development for professional standards and qualifications, with the goal to cover 72 professions by 2017. 
Weerachai said the emphasis between 2013 and 2015 was on professional standards and qualification-development work to cater for government policies for the digital economy and industrial clusters in an effort to improve 300,000 workers’ professional qualifications by 2020.
So far TPQI has certified 67 professional qualification-ratifying agencies in 18 professions including educational institutions, associations and specialty schools, he said. 
By 2018, the institute aims to increase the number of certified professional qualification-ratifying agencies for the 36 professions it has issued professional standards for and fully launch a database for professional-qualification services next year.
Weerachai said TPQI carried out qualification assessments on organisations and had so far assessed 10,565 workers in 11 professions with 7,744 receiving certificates. 
This fiscal year, TPQI aims to boost the number of certified professional qualification-ratifying agencies by 50 in 19 professions and issue certificates for 16,000 workers who underwent assessments and were deemed qualified. TPQI aims to cover 30,000 workers in 2017, 50,000 in 2018 and 80,000 in 2019 in order to achieve the goal of 300,000 certified workers by 2020.
“We have developed a vocational qualification system along with foreign countries such as New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Australia in the spa business, logistics, food, automotive services and ‘mechatronics’ engineering,” Weerachai said. 
As for integration with organisations within the region, he said the agency joined forces with the Office of the Education Council to develop the Asean Qualifications Referencing Framework along with nine Asean members via the group’s secretariat.
He said the TPQI had also teamed with the Office of Vocational Education to set up professional standards and develop competency-based curricula which had been in use in 13 vocational fields among many co-operations with national agencies.
This month, Weerachai said TPIQ would formulate the professional standard and qualifications for manpower in the aviation sector’s aircraft repair industry, as well as provide training to the industry’s trainers. This industry had more than 5,000 workers, many of whom were studying in universities and colleges nationwide, he said.
“For ICT and digital-content development, which is now suffering from a severe manpower shortage, TPQI is also formulating the professional standards and qualifications for six professions in this field to support some 500,000 current workers,” he said.
That number was expected to rise to one million in the future, he added.
The institute had applied the criteria used by Japan and South Korea in this professional-qualification assessment – a pilot model of which had been used on IT workers in private companies to boost IT literacy. 
It was also working on formulating standards and qualifications for high-speed rail engineering, English-language teaching and the public utility and service sector, he said.
Given that vocational qualifications were still new in Thai society, TPQI was launching a public relations campaign to increase awareness about the importance of its work. He said the government had offered to cover the assessment fee for professionals so they can obtain the certificate, which would bring about career advancement and higher incomes.