Myanmar: Career prospects for young people and underprivileged population groups

A young waiter smiles as he walks through a restaurant, holding a cocktail on a tray.
Vocational training will provide young people with new opportunities and better prospects. © SDC

In Myanmar, Switzerland provides market-oriented and solid training opportunities especially for young and disadvantaged men and women. As part of the Democracy without Borders initiative, a film from Myanmar on the prospects of young people was shown at the Locarno film festival in August. 

Switzerland is working on a variety of projects in Myanmar that will improve the career prospects of young people and underprivileged population groups. 

This involvement currently takes the form of a partnership with the Center for Vocational Training (CVT) in Yangon, which offers three-year Swiss-style dual apprenticeships in the following areas: 

  • hotel and restaurant trade
  • administration
  • welding
  • electrics
  • carpentry 

In another project, Switzerland is helping to expand the provision of training in the hotel industry. Amid growing tourism, demand for employees in this sector is particularly high. Switzerland is working with the Swiss Hotel Management Academy in Lucerne (SHL), which is using its expertise to help develop high-quality vocational education and training. 

The project also focuses on supporting underprivileged people such as unemployed youth from suburban and rural areas, as well as women, migrants, internally displaced persons, and refugees. Low-threshold vocational training programmes offer these people the opportunity to learn a trade over a three-month period, enhancing their career prospects and facilitating their entry into the job market in the process. 

Furthermore, Switzerland is working with the Myanmar government to deliver policy changes in the vocational training and education sector with regard to the qualification framework, certification mechanisms, and standards.

Locarno International Film Festival

The Monk, a film made in Myanmar, was shown on 7 August 2016 as part of the Open Doors screenings at the Locarno Film Festival. The president of the film festival and project ambassador of Democracy without Borders, Marco Solari, welcomed the audience in the crowded hall with a brief speech. In his subsequent speech, assistant director of the SDC Pio Wennubst emphasised the importance of culture for development cooperation, which is based on the exchange of knowledge and experience and contributes to the development of a country such as Myanmar. The Open Doors section of the Locarno film festival provides an important platform to promote this exchange and thus promote the development of countries. The film The Monk met with great interest and was shown a second time a few days later. A panel discussion followed the film, addressing the issue of what the future holds for young people amid social and political change in Myanmar. The director of the film, The Maw Naing, the chief political reporter of the Myanmar Times, Ei Ei Toe Lwin, and the deputy head of the SDC’s cooperation office in Myanmar, Carin Salerno, took part in the discussion, which was moderated by Reto Ceschi, who is a journalist with Switzerland's Italian-language television broadcaster RSI.

Roundtable on the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh

On March 15th 2018 a roundtable on the situation of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh was held at the International film festival and Forum for human rights in Geneva (FIFDH) as part of the “Democracy Without Borders” initiative. The event was introduced by Ambassador and Assistant Director General of SDC, Thomas Gass, as well as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh to Switzerland, Shameem Ashan. Experts from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Geneva Centre for education and research in humanitarian action (CERAH) discussed what assistance Switzerland and the International Community can provide to strengthen the communities resilience.