ZOE VOCATIONAL TRAINING
The objective of ZOE’s Vocational Program is to equip former child trafficking victims and extremely vulnerable children with marketable educational and vocational skills in order to reduce their vulnerability to trafficking and re-trafficking. Education and vocational training is a key factor in mitigating the re-trafficking of children. Because we rescue and care for children who have been trafficked, some of our children are unable to leave the ZOE campus for schooling in a traditional school setting. For some, this is because their lives are in grave danger and they are under a witness protection program. For others, they have not regularly – or ever – attended school because they have been trafficked. Because many of the children we care for will not attend university or even rise to a level commensurate with a high school diploma, a robust Vocational Training Program is vital. We are committed to preparing them to enter adulthood with the skills necessary to provide a decent and honorable living.
During our research for our grant proposal to the U.S. government, we did significant study on Thailand’s job market and visited one of the national government’s top vocational training centers, Song Khawe Protection and Occupational Development Centre, for a first-hand look at what is being offered there to teens who need help.
As a result of our findings, ZOE’s Vocational School offers three vocational tracks:
- Construction/Automotive Mechanics/Electrical
- Office Skills
These three tracks represent top job opportunity areas in Thailand.
Each vocational track comprises five 9-week training modules. With the exception of some Office Skills and Hospitality internships, most of the training takes place on the ZOE campus. This ensures that all of the children in ZOE’s care – including those with higher levels of safety risk – will have the opportunity to gain marketable job skills. Housing the training program onsite also allows ZOE to provide the training in a cost-effective manner. Each training module has been designed to serve as either a stand-alone vocational training resource or as a component of a broader vocational education. Children who complete single training modules will be equipped for employment within specific, marketable job functions. In fact, students are required to pass skills tests proving that they are job ready in order to complete training modules.
Children who complete all modules in vocational training tracks will be equipped for a broader array of jobs including mid-level leadership positions. While it is desirable that the children have opportunities to enter into these higher-level employment opportunities, it is important that short-term educational paths (i.e., stand-alone modules) be available. Some children who enter the training program will not have the option of remaining in the program for long periods of time due to individual circumstances (e.g., the need to repatriate to country of origin or return to families when safe). It is essential that all children acquire some level of skill for healthy employment, even if they have limited time to learn and develop these skills. When children in all of these demographic groups gain skills to support themselves, they will be far less vulnerable to re-trafficking.
Track 1: Construction/Automotive Mechanics
- Metal Work
- Facilities Maintenance
- Automotive Mechanics
- Business Principles and the Construction Industry
Track 2: Office and Administration
- Office Equipment and Business Skills
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Office Internship / Language Skills
Track 3: Hospitality
- Barista and Food Service Skills
- Cooking Session 1
- Cooking Session 2
- Retail, Business Principles, and the Hospitality Industry
ZOE LEARNING CENTER
ZOE is currently providing aftercare for fifty-seven school-age children. While the majority of these children are able to attend public or private schools, as explained above we do have a number of children who must remain on the ZOE campus because of security reasons or because they are not ready to integrate into a classroom setting of peers. Therefore, ZOE provides an education for both groups of children: those who attend “regular” school and those in ZOE’s Vocational Program who, in addition to their vocational training, are schooled in traditional subjects by ZOE’s full-time, on-campus, professionally accredited, university-trained teachers. ZOE’s Education Department currently has five full-time teachers on our ZOE campus.
The children who attend the ZOE’s Vocational Program are taught all of the core subjects. In addition, in all subject areas, we have inserted a “life skills” component in order to ensure that these children understand where and how to apply the knowledge they are learning.
The subject areas taught at ZOE are:
- Social Studies
- Thai Language
- ASEAN Studies
- English Language
- Chinese Language
- Health and Physical Education
In May 2017, ZOE became an official (government approved) Learning Centre. The main advantage of being designated as an official Learning Centre is that ZOE is now authorised to award an official educational diploma to students who are enrolled at ZOE. This will greatly enhance their ability to be hired for better jobs.