Thailand 4.0: Firms can educate workforce but govt must set goals   

your say November 15, 2017 01:00

Re: “Digital transformation in businesses demands employee upskilling”, The Nation, October 13.

It’s obvious that for Thai businesses, transition to the so-called fourth industrial revolution (4.0) demands more highly skilled employees. 

So, what are businesses and public institutions actually doing to educate their staff for Thailand 4.0? 

Traditionally, firms regularly top up the knowledge of personnel by sending them on courses, thereby maintaining business competitiveness. The often employer-financed courses help shorten the up-skilling time needed to cope with transition. So for the leap to Thailand 4.0, we already have much of the education infrastructure in place. 

The government also has a big role. It must manage the jump to digitalisation within the halls of power and bureaucracy while at the same time leading the leap outside, in the business and public realms. This means keeping a high standard of personnel who can set well-defined 4.0 goals and guide both the public and private sectors to achieve them. The private sector’s needs are changing, and government must adjust and work with business to help meet them. 

One example is firms’ increasing demand for multi-skilled personnel. Being a well-qualified tech engineer may no longer be enough when the market also now wants fluency in English, or other supplemental knowledge. The same goes for other professions.

This is where an existing infrastructure of business-education courses offers a ladder to Thailand’s next stage. Businesses and public bodies who have been content to get by without these facilities now face costly and time-consuming effort to catch up from scratch. The trend towards compulsory life-long education is already triggering a global change in learning. That trend is now knocking, even pounding, on Thailand’s door.

Dirk Sumter