SKILL MISMATCH OF EDUCATED YOUTH IN THE CAMBODIAN RICE EXPORTATION SECTOR
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This paper examines university educated youth involvement within the milled rice export sector of the rice value chain in Cambodia. Using the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Association’s 2008 policy brief on the state of youth employment within Cambodia as its basis, this research looks more specifically into what role the Cambodian rice exporters can play in the sustainable employment of future working generations – specifically university students and graduates. Although the average Cambodian youth is not a university graduate, a particular cause for concern is the rising number of unemployed youth in Cambodia and a disparity between education and labour skills. The scholarly literature and empirical findings on the subject have been surprisingly deficient. The emphasis of this study is on original research, which was conducted entirely through semi-structured and structured interviews which occurred predominantly in Phnom Penh. To achieve the goals of the research, interviews were undertaken with members of the various stakeholders: The milled rice exporters, Cambodian university students prospective to this industry and a Cambodian government ministry. The ensuing discussion and results from the interviews builds towards the argument that there is a mismatch between the Government’s targets, Cambodian youth’s expectations and academic institutions hopes. It is established that there must be greater cooperation between all stakeholders, especially between the educational facilities and private sector. The author therefore concludes that there is a need for a platform to be created whereby the private sector can have greater footholds in educational facilities and can inform the educators of important skills demanded by the labour market.