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AEC Lataste, Cambodia

Offering apprenticeships to vulnerable teenagers in Cambodia

The Vocational Training program offered by ACE Lataste supports vulnerable teenagers and young adults in Cambodia to become skilled workers who earn a regular stable income and have a brighter future.

How the initiative makes a difference 

AEC Lataste organizes a Vocational Training program in Cambodia offering apprenticeships to teenagers and young adults who cannot afford to pay for their education. Before the program started, only wealthy Cambodians could afford to pay an apprenticeship for their children. With the help of the Vocational Training program, 30 youngsters receive a scholarship to follow an apprenticeship of their choice and are encouraged to also start their own businesses afterwards.

The program collaborates closely with the community and shops in the city of Sisophon. The apprentice learns a trade (e.g. phone repair, sewing, embellishment) for 1-2 years and is often employed by the shop at the end of the apprenticeship.

How we engage

The program is implemented by the French association AEC-Foyer Lataste in partnership with two other organizations. AEC-Foyer Lataste has gained experience in implementing education projects in Cambodia since 1998. McKinsey for Children started to sponsor the project in 2014 and supports the professional formation of 15 students per year. We provide these apprentices with scholarships to cover the fees for the professional formation and their living expenses.

Why it matters

The Banteay Meanchey province of Cambodia is still suffering from the aftermath of civil wars. Although latest fights ended in 1997, many people - especially teenagers - are stuck in poverty with little access to education and no sustainable perspective for their futures. Many refugees returned from camps in Thailand and still live under miserable conditions. Particularly, children and young adults present a vulnerable population group with illiteracy being very high. Only ~17% of children attend primary school and only ~7% secondary school. At the same time, the demand for skilled workers in Cambodia is high and rising.