Addressing the severe shortage of skilled labour the Thai Industry was facing in the 1980s, the project “Introduction of Dual Vocational Training” aimed to introduce a system of dual vocational training (DVT) on the national level. Methodologically it attempted to bring about structural change by training organizations and developing occupational skills in order to make the initial vocational education practice-oriented and relevant to the needs of companies. The expansion of the dual vocational education system to a variety of professional fields and its country-wide dissemination was made possible and supported by political decisions of the Thai partner, which were prepared through advisory services and pilot initiatives in the framework of the project. In the framework of curricula reform it was achieved that dual vocational education and its degree was equated with the degrees of formal education. Furthermore the vocational schools received a formal order, to establish cooperation with enterprises. In combination these two developments made it possible that dual vocational education could be pursued in almost all professional fields and dual vocational training was offered at vocational schools in 90% of the country’s provinces. Both guidelines were also incorporated into the draft of the Vocational Education Act, which was passed in 2006.
Therewith the project rendered a major contribution to the improvement the employment opportunities of young people as well as to fulfilling the Thai industry’s demand for skilled workers. With regards to trainees the DVT-programme in Thailand (with about 5,000 graduates annually at the end of the project) constituted the largest dual vocational training programme in Asia. Enrollment in DVT reached almost 10% of all students in formal initial vocational education.
The Vocational Education Act of 2006 has taken up the idea of DVT as it was introduced by the project and therewith certified it as an acknowledged form of vocational education. There is an organizational unit within the ministry, which has taken over the core functions of the German project bureau. The introduction of dual vocational education has increased the flexibility of the Thai vocational education system. It could be observed – for example – that the increasing demand for skilled labour within the field of commercial agriculture (industrial production of milk, meat, vegetables, fruit, feeding stuff) was met by an expansion of dual vocational education in agricultural professions.