Firms urged to boost skills with training

Firms urged to boost skills with training

The Department of Skill Development on Wednesday called on employers to organise skills training for staff to boost not only productivity but also the competitiveness of their businesses.

Thawat Benjathikul, the department's director-general, expressed concerns about the Skill Development Fund, which was set up under the 2002 law on promotion of skill development.

Under the law, businesses with 100 workers or more are required to hold skill training programmes. At least 50% of the workers at a company must undergo training.

If a company fails to meet the requirements, it must pay contributions to the Skill Development Fund, which has currently swelled to 1 billion baht. A portion of the fund also comes from the government, he explained.

He said the law is to ensure the country's workforce receives proper training to upgrade their skills and that employers can submit training budgets for 100% tax deductions.

"We don't want contributions from the employers. We want them to realise the importance of upgrading the workers' skills and capacities. After all, proper training will boost productivity and standards of goods and services," he told a seminar on labour skill development.

Department records show that about 5.2 million employees have undergone training programmes this year, with training budgets worth more than 1.8 billion baht. A total of 391 businesses have obtained loans from the fund to organise training for about 61,000 staff.

He said that due to limited resources, the department can train only about 200,000 workers per year among a national workforce of 10 million who are instrumental in driving the economy and maintaining Thailand's competitiveness.

"The department can support entrepreneurs who want to enhance workers' skills with tax deductions. However, they must also present proposed skill development courses for approval before training begins," he said.

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