Việt Nam needs some 200,000 logistics personnel from now until 2025 but its current logistics training capacity is unable to meet that demand, according to the Việt Nam Association of Logistic Service Enterprise (VLA).
Recent surveys by the HCM City Research and Development Institute show that some 53 per cent of the total enterprises in the country are lacking professionally-trained logistics staff.
Only major enterprises that have their own staff training departments are able to provide training for logistics staff, while small and medium enterprises have to send their staff to study short and long training courses organised by the VLA.
“During the 12 years that I’ve been in the business, every fresh graduate we recruit for the logistics department must be trained to conduct the most basic procedures, from receiving bills to responding to customers,” said Võ Thị Phương Lan, general director of the Amerasian Shipping Logistics Corporation (ASL).
"I sometimes develop the training curriculum myself so that they know exactly what they’re required to do," she added. "It often takes them two months to complete training."
It will take 100 years to train 200,000 logistics staff with the country’s current speed and quality of logistics training, said Trần Chí Dũng, vice president of the Việt Nam Logistics Research and Development Institute.
Some 100 logistics staff registered for a course on international customer service opened by the VLA last month, although the class could only serve 50. Despite such a high demand for trained staff, the HCM City University of Transport is the only university in the city that offers a degree in logistics management and multimodal transportation, according to surveys by the VLA.
Other universities and colleges do provide logistic training programs but they are often incorporated into degrees of business management, transportation economics, foreign trade, commerce and tourism.
This results in students only being equipped with basic knowledge of commerce and transportation but may find themselves confused about their duties when accepted into logistics enterprises, according to the VLA.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between theory and practice, several enterprises have collaborated with universities to provide practical logistics training for students, and vice versa. However, such linkage has shown to be weak and ineffective.
“Some universities send their students to do internships, but some only do field trips and company tours,” said Nguyễn Thị Hằng, principal of the HCM City Vocational College of Technology II. "Some internships match their fields of study but some don’t, depending on the types of enterprises.
"Some internships aren’t effective because enterprises don’t have qualified teachers that can instruct students like in schools," she added. "Some enterprises even become less productive because of the time spent on training interns."
Most enterprises provide universities with scholarships as a means of staff recruitment, said Vũ Ninh, head of the staff training department of the Gemadept Corporation, a leading enterprise in maritime shipping and logistics in Việt Nam. But it is difficult to collaborate with them via training programs since universities don’t necessarily agree with every training request from enterprises, he said.
Nguyễn Hồng Minh, general director of the vocational training directorate under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs said enterprises and logistics associations should collaborate to develop a common set of requirements for logistics staff, based on which universities and educational units will develop training programs and standards for graduates.
Enterprises should take responsibility for recruiting interns and inform universities of their recruitment quota and mechanism, as well as quality of candidates, he said. These should be identified 3-5 years in advance to avoid universities recruiting logistics students based on their own forecast, he added.
"Universities and educational units should not sit and wait but conduct practical market surveys and research to improve their training quality," he said. "Concerned associations and sectors should join hands in strengthening the commitment to collaborate between enterprises and universities." — VNS