Supporting human resource development in Laos
Australia Awards female alumni attending the Women’s Leadership Executive Development Program in Vangvieng, Vientiane Province
The Laos Australia Institute (LAI) supports human resource development in Laos. It is the Australian Government’s leading program for scholarships and training, as well as a source of technical advice and support to the public and private sectors.
Australia’s investment in Laos is guided by its Aid Investment Plan (2015-16 to 2019-20) which includes the objective of “improving Laos’ human resources through scholarships, training and organisational capacity building”. The Aid Investment Plan recognises that gaps in workforce capacity and qualifications are an obstacle to development, employment and investment in Laos, particularly in the context of Laos entering the ASEAN Economic Community. Stronger human resources are essential for economic growth and competitiveness in Laos, and to its ability to provide its citizens with the social services required for equitable development.
Human resource development is also a priority for Laos, with the Eighth National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020 identifying the constraints that skills gaps place on economic development. Further, the Human Resource Development Strategy to 2025, finalised in April 2016, provides national direction for investments in human resources. In particular, the HRD Strategy identifies the importance of building up and managing civil servants to be more efficient and effective, and developing the workforce and increasing labour productivity to meet labour market demand.
Gender and Social Inclusion
Across the entire LAI program and its implementation, there is a strong commitment to gender equality, as well as disability and socially inclusive development. Activities are designed to overcome particular barriers and challenges faced by women, people with a disability, and people from ethnic minorities or remote communities. Specific programs are in place to enable members of disadvantaged groups to access training and scholarships.
To achieve its long-term outcomes, LAI works with the Human Resource Development Secretariat within the Ministry of Education and Sports (MOES), and with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA). The HRD Secretariat supports the National HRD Commission and the agency focal points for human resource development under the National HRD Strategy; and MOHA is the agency which sets the parameters for how human resources are deployed and managed within the civil service. LAI also works with representatives of the private sector through the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI).