THANKS to a dual vocational education programme, Sureerat Jittrong does not need to worry about tuition, personal expenses or her future.
The 17-year-old girl can study for free and even earn a side income at the factory of a jewellery company that has partnered with Suranaree Technical College.
Upon graduation, she has an almost 100-per-cent chance of landing a job at the factory.
“I also get free housing,” Sureerat said recently in reference to the jewellery programme conducted by her college and Pranda Jewellery Plc.
Launched nine years ago, the programme is limited to underprivileged children. Sureerat was able to join this because she comes from a cash-strapped background – her mother works on sugarcane plantations.
Somsak Srirueangmon, an assistant managing director at Pranda Jewellery, said that from his observations, disadvantaged students show a strong drive to study and work hard.
“I’ve found them very dedicated, very patient and very responsible,” he said.
Compared with other students, many underprivileged children generally develop more skills to produce jewellery.
The youngsters involved in the programme at the Pranda factory in Nakhon Ratchasima have to study six days a week, with three of those days reserved for lectures.
The other days are for practice sessions. If students have free time during those days, they are required to work.
Samran Hongklang, director of the college, said he had dispatched teachers to conduct classes at the factory so students could receive both housing and wages throughout their studies.
“If we hold classes at the college, their parents would have to bear some expense during their first year,” he said.
“To maximise underprivileged children’s chances of furthering their education, we have to arrange it this way.”
Somsak said his company did not mind shouldering the expenses for the children because the programme had allowed it to find the people they wanted.