Tackling the youth unemployment and skills gap issues in Vietnam.

The problem: In Vietnam, a combination of low education and skill levels, youth unemployment and under-employment, poverty, dependency, and declining self-esteem leads to impoverished youth having few economic opportunities. The unemployment rate is worsening with 1.6 million young people entering the labour force every year. Young people with lower educational levels, from poorer families, rural areas or those from ethnic minorities represent a high proportion of unemployed youth. Also, the labour market has become more competitive and increasingly demanding, which makes it harder for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds with barely any marketable skills and proper education to find decent jobs.

Our intervention (2018 – 2021): Through REACH, Lorinet Foundation intended to tackle the youth unemployment and skills gap issues in Vietnam and importantly, address the ongoing needs of the most disadvantaged youth across Vietnam. The student profile includes migrant youth, ethnic minorities, LGBT, and other marginalised groups such as trafficked survivors, victims of domestic violence, those living with or affected by HIV, and people with disabilities. REACH has a rapidly scaling network of over 1,000 businesses that play a critical role in the design, delivery, and review of its programmes and provide job opportunities for the participating youth. REACH programmes are well-recognised as exemplary Technical and Vocational Education and Training programmes in Southeast Asia. The training courses:

  • Are intensive 3 to 6 months long (3-month courses on Food and Beverages, Cooking, Hairdressing, Sales and Marketing, and Graphic Design and 6-month courses on 3D Modelling and Code Web) and offer English language tuition, life-skills training, job readiness training, and technical skills.
  • Include people with disabilities. Through a project called Step Up, REACH opened Hairdressing for deaf youth and Massage Therapy and Customer Services for visually impaired individuals.


  • The programme mobilised 4,519 youth and trained 3,482 youth
  • It placed 78% of those who completed the training
  • 79% of the employed youth had income improvement (average USD 241 per month)
  • 76% youth received higher salary than minimum wage defined by the govt (USD 175 per month)
  • 55 people with disabilities were trained under STEP Up; it achieved a very high 52% placement.

Highlight: Recognising REACH’s potential to scale, Lorinet Foundation supported its capacity building by strengthening its executive team and governance. Furthermore, for its financial independence, we supported the development of sustainable social enterprise ventures within REACH that catered to strong market demand.

Read Impact Story here