Update: 19:22 | 05/07/2022
Manufacturing companies are offering various benefits to attract interns as a labor shortage threatens to stymie their post-Covid recovery.
Nguyen Chi Bao was recruited after a three-month apprenticeship by metal company Dai Dung in HCMC’s Binh Chanh District.
Bao, 20, a student at the Viet Xo Vocational School in the southern province of Dong Thap, was among 30 interns one and a half years into their course sent to the company.
Students from Cao Thang Technical College visit a factory of metal company Dai Dung.
They received stipends and bonuses of around VND250,000 (US$11) a day, and were offered full-time contracts with a salary of over VND10 million after their internship ended.
Nguyen Van Hung, chairman of the company’s workers union, said the company takes in 150-200 interns from six vocational schools in HCMC and neighboring areas every year and provides them with accommodation and a minimum monthly stipend of VND3 million.
Around 30 percent sign up for jobs after their internship ends.
For years, the mechanical engineering industry has faced a shortage of skilled workers due to limited number of training facilities and students.
The issue worsened after Covid broke out as many factory workers decided to quit and pursue more flexible jobs such as driving taxis, making deliveries and selling goods online.
Some 200-300 of Dai Dung’s 1,000 workers quit each year, and so it focuses on signing up interns to ensure it is adequately staffed.
Besides offering benefits to interns, molding company Lap Phuc (HCMC’s District 7) also uses its workshops as classrooms for the vocational students.
Some of its clients have terminated their contracts after knowing it allows students into its factory, saying their patterns should be kept away from outsiders.
But Nguyen Van Tri, its director, insisted on keeping the apprentice program.
It would be impossible for the company to find new workers in the next few years if it does not take in trainees, he said.
"Labor shortage is the biggest issue now for our factory, and we must find a way to resolve it."
The company also welcomes vocational students and lecturers to its factory and lets them operate new machines as a way to promote its image, culture and working environment, Tri said.
Some 21 percent of foreign firms in Vietnam complain they have difficulty finding enough skilled workers, according to a survey by the ManpowerGroup Vietnam and the Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs.
Cooperation between vocational schools and manufacturers is benefiting everyone, including students, Pham Vu Quoc Binh, deputy head of the Directorate of Vocational Education, said.
Due to their low tuitions, the schools cannot afford state-of-the-art machinery, and thus, by working with companies, students can access and work on the latest machines.
This year, companies in the country will need 1.3 million new workers, up 18 percent from last year, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs has forecast.