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Engineers Ready, But Nowhere To Go

Two Cambodian boys fish on an empty drainage pipe at the natural irrigation canal in Kompong Speu province.

A growing group of young engineers say they are ready for the government to make use of their skills but are facing limited job prospects.

“The use of the skills acquired by graduate engineers in the labor market is still limited,” said Chann Rithy, vice president of Techno Charity, a group of engineers, as a guest Monday on “Hello VOA.”

Techno Charity has around 50 members who are graduates of the Institute of Technology of Cambodia. They volunteer to build wells and provide study materials to children in rural areas.

“The government has to consider that engineers need to employ the skills they’ve learned at school,” Chann Rithy said. “So they need the right workplaces to use them properly.”

Cambodia currently has about 20,000 engineers, he said, trained in areas like agricultural hydrology, irrigation, electronics and information technology. However, many of them are unable to apply their studies to work after graduation because there is nowhere for them to go.

“If the government has a policy to create more jobs by encouraging more investment and entrepreneurship, then more engineers must be needed to exploit their skills,” he said.

The heyday for Cambodian engineers was in the 1960s, when engineers helped in the production of export products like machinery, rubber and glass, he said.

Channy Rithy said Cambodia must now learn to produce more goods, especially for the local market.

“The government has to consider what to import and what not to,” he said, “so that we can increase our local production with the skill of engineers.”