Press Release

Cambodia and UN step up efforts to promote Decent Employment for Youth

01 June 2020

 A joint programme will help school-to-work transition of young women and men in Cambodia. 

Phnom Penh, 01 June 2020 – The Royal Government of Cambodia and the United Nations in Cambodia in partnership with the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), launched the second phase of a joint programme to promote decent employment for youth and reduce inequalities in the country.

The programme offers out-of-school and vulnerable youth with learning packages driven by innovation. Packages include technical; entrepreneurial; soft and on-the-job skills as well as demand-driven career guidance to ensure that out-of-school and vulnerable youth are better able to compete for quality employment in the labour market. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme also responds to the emergency measures and supports recovery efforts of the government.

In total, 170,900 youths (50% female) will directly benefit from the industry-driven skills and competencies development initiatives; basic education equivalency and literacy in factory programmes; entrepreneurship and enterprise development training and support initiatives; employment services; and youth rights at work awareness-raising programmes. 

“In these times of turmoil, I am pleased to see our country coming together with international stakeholders to help and support vulnerable young Cambodians overcome today’s challenges and build a brighter future of work.” Said H.E Dr. Ith Samheng, Minister of Labour and Vocational Training.

“Cambodia’s response and recovery from the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is an invaluable opportunity to unleash digital transformation with a skilled, empowered and resilient young population. The 160,000 young Cambodian women and men entering the job market every year will need more than ever to be equipped with the skills, competencies and the mindset to thrive even with uncertainty,” said UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Pauline Tamesis. 

With a combined contribution of $4 million USD from SDC and $4.8 million USD from the four UN agencies (UNICEF, UNESCO, UNIDO and ILO), the Royal Government of Cambodia, and private sector, this four-year programme will benefit from the involvement of the private sector, including the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA), in the mission to facilitate young people’s school-to-work transition and contribute to reducing the skills mismatch in Cambodia.

“The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation is pleased to join force and renew our partnership with the Government and the United Nations in Cambodia to assist young women and men in the country, to be better prepared for their future career, focusing on the more vulnerable people. Vocational Skills Development and Decent Employment remain priorities of Switzerland ’s International Cooperation” said Ms Carin Salerno, SDC Director of Cooperation.


The United Nations (UN) in Cambodia works to support peace, poverty eradication and human rights in the country. The UN is committed to enhancing development effectiveness in support of the priorities, plans and programs of the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), civil society and other relevant partners.

Sophorn Tun

National Coordinator

UN entities involved in this initiative

International Labour Organization
United Nations
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Industrial Development Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative