Upskill and Upscale: Stories of Vietnam’s Aspiring Elevator Technicians

January 28, 2019

Huynh Ngoc Hoi is the eldest of two children. He left his family in Vietnam’s Binh Thuan province to pursue education at Ly Tu Trong College (LTTC) in Ho Chi Minh City. He hopes to help his family after he graduates. Like Hoi, Tran Quoc Nguyen, also dreams of helping out his widowed mother by pursuing an education at LTTC. Unknown to the two young students back then, a bigger opportunity would soon be presented to them.


Vietnam’s elevator and escalator industry is struggling with an immense shortage of skilled workers. As the country becomes more industrialized than ever, the demand for elevator and escalator technicians is growing at a rapid pace. Elevator companies in Vietnam, like KONE, have to outsource crucial installation and safety services. However, these service providers do not comply with quality and safety standards, which may result in malfunctions and hazards.


To address this problem, ASSIST Vietnam in association with LTTC and with co-financing from KONE and KFW DEG, implemented the project “Promote Technical Education and Reform of Mechanics and Electrification to Professionals or PROMPT. Through the project’s KONE Academy, a dedicated training center on elevator and escalator installation, students will be equipped with the proper knowledge and skills to help them become competent technicians, thereby addressing the increasing demand for skilled workers and creating job opportunities for less privileged students like Hoi and Nguyen.


Hoi and Nguyen were introduced to the PROMPT project by their teachers at LTTC. Hoi expressed enthusiasm for the project by saying “I think this program is really interesting and very advanced. Elevator and escalator installations were never taught as a profession in most of the colleges here in Vietnam.”


Aside from the core installation classes, the students were also taught safety and rescue procedures. Nguyen said, “My favorite class is about safety and rescue procedures. We were given hands on training. One of my classmates will play the victim who is trapped in an elevator and we will rescue him.”


Like Hoi and Nguyen, their classmate, Nguyen Thi Phi Yen also found the classes very challenging. Despite being the only girl in her class, Yen is determined to do well and pursue a career in the elevator and escalator industry. She said, “Nowadays, gender is not an obstacle anymore. Thanks to the PROMPT project, I gained new skills which can create more opportunities for me in the future.”


Before attending the technical trainings, Hoi dreamt of becoming an engineer or scientist. But the PROMPT project opened his mind to the vast opportunities available at his fingertips. He said, “My dream now is to design and install elevators and make it safer for more people.”


Through project PROMPT’s apprenticeship and employment program, students like Hoi, Nguyen and Yen won’t have difficulties finding employment after graduation.