Vietnam must improve the quality of its upper secondary schools and vocational training to fill the rapid growth of medium-skill employment opportunities under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to be introduced at the end of 2015.

The recommendation was made in the “ASEAN Community 2015: Managing integration for better jobs and shared properity” report, recently released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The report showed that structural changes under the AEC will heighten demand for various skills levels but particularly medium-skill employment.

Projections indicate that between 2010 and 2025 demand overall for medium-skill employment will increase by 28 percent, compared to a 23 percent increase in low-skill employment and 13 percent in high-skill jobs.

Gaps still exist between the classroom skills and the workplace, said the head of ILO Vietnam Gyorgy Sziraczki, adding that it is critical to bridge the gaps and address future demands for skills though close education and business cooperation coupled with business participation in the development of skills standards and training curriculum.

Other recommendations made by the report to help Vietnam stimulate medium-skill employment growth include aligning economic and workforce planning, certifying skills, and enhancing partnerships between education and training providers and the private sector.

With projected expansions in the garment, construction and transportation sectors, a focus on developing specific vocational competencies along with promoting excellence in science and engineering would help Vietnam prepare its youth for the future, the report said.-VNA