Agency begins PDPA training programme for small firms

Agency begins PDPA training programme for small firms

The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa) is forging ahead with a training programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them understand practices required under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which came into force on June 1.

The Federation of Thai SMEs is collaborating with Depa for the project.

The programme is intended to encourage SMEs to upgrade their data management and practices to be in line with domestic and international data protection standards, especially for the 30,000 SMEs linked to the export sector.

The training course was developed by the Digital Skills Development and Testing Institute, which provides 18 hours of training over the course of three months.

The project targets executives or representatives from more than 1,000 enterprises.

Saengchai Teerakulvanich, president of the Federation of Thai SMEs, said there are as many as 3 million SMEs in the country with 12 million employees, compared with 15,000 big corporations with 5 million employees.

Some 30,000 SMEs are associated with the export sector, contributing 12% of the value of the country's exports, he said.

Mr Saengchai acknowledged many entrepreneurs have not yet started preparing for the PDPA.

He said the first phase of the training programme focuses on building PDPA knowledge, while the next phase centres on learning advanced skills to improve the participants' data protection management.

In the long run, the project aims to create PDPA-related jobs, such as PDPA compliance auditors that have professional standards, said Depa president and chief executive Nuttapon Nimmanphatcharin.

Mr Nuttapon said his agency's primary mission is to develop manpower with digital skills to support SMEs' digital journey and business capability.

He said SMEs need to understand the PDPA and adjust their business practices to be in line with the law. They also need to put cybersecurity measures in place.

Some businesses have raised concerns about a lack of preparedness for the law, as they have been hit hard by the pandemic over the past two years.

Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn said the government aims to ease the burden shouldered by SMEs and community enterprises for PDPA compliance.

He said SMEs are exempted from compliance with the PDPA's practices on the recording of processing activities. This exemption is stipulated in one of four subordinate regulations, which came into force last week.

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