Japanese fret over Thai labour force

March 23, 201610:18 am358 views

Japanese investors are raising concerns over the skills of Thai workers, who they say fail to meet the needs of major companies, especially car makers and automotive suppliers that want to use the country as an Asean hub.

Shiro Sadoshima, the Japanese ambassador to Thailand, said the Thai government must invest more in education to produce a labour force that can match the demands of Japanese industry.

He noted that while Thailand has a clear policy to improve vocational skills and cultivate skilled labour, the skills exhibited by the workers thus far are not up to standard.

Mr Sadoshima said that Japan also had to adjust its educational system and allocate funds for training in order to create a skilled labour force capable of meeting rising demand amid industrial expansion, especially after the government instituted numerous policies to promote investment.

“The Thai government should brush up on its educational standards to produce a skilled labour force that can start working immediately after graduation,” he said. The Japanese government would play a supporting role to help increase the number of skilled workers for growing industries.

The ambassador’s remarks echoed those of major Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota, which has been investing in Thailand for decades.

Kyoichi Tanada, president of Toyota Motor Thailand Co, said Japanese investors want the Thai government to offer more incentives to investors, who contribute a lot to research and development, saying that could help improve the standard of Thai industries as well as the quality of the country’s workforce.

Shuichi Ikeda, chief representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), also voiced concerns that even though Thailand has produced a lot of vocational graduates to serve rising demand for factory workers, those graduates still lack the skills required.

Thailand is expected to produce around 67,000 vocational graduates over the next 10 years but only around 3,100 of them can meet labour standards and get a job, meaning that a large number of them would fail to find work, he said.

“We are thinking about what we [Japanese companies and the Japanese government] can do in order to help Thailand produce a skilled labour force that matches demand in the labour market,” Mr Ikeda said.

He pointed out a major reason that Thailand had failed to produce a skilled labour force is that the country still lacked qualified instructors and the proper equipment needed to train vocational graduates.

“We conducted a survey and found that most of the instructors have good theoretical knowledge. They still, however, lack the practical experience needed to convey the necessary knowledge and skills to convey the necessary knowledge and skills to their students,” he said.

Mr Ikeda said Jica had invested a lot in helping Thailand to develop its labour force and was willing to invest more to help support Thailand along this path.

Thailand is a valuable investment location, he said, and Japanese businesses wanted it to be the production hub of Asean.

news source: bangkokpost.com/business/news/907056/japanese-fret-over-thai-labour-force

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