Closing the Skills Gap in the Wastewater Treatment Industry

A student and her teacher interact in class as part of Viet Nam’s first TVET course that aims to train sewerage engineering technicians. Photo Credit: GIZ.
A student and her teacher interact in class as part of Viet Nam’s first TVET course that aims to train sewerage engineering technicians. Photo Credit: GIZ.

Business sector engagement is key to the success of a German-supported TVET training offer for skilled workers for the wastewater sector in Viet Nam.


As the economy of Viet Nam develops, by-products of industrialization, such as wastewater, increase. Treating wastewater becomes a new industry in itself—one for which very few in Viet Nam are well prepared.  The government set a target of treating 60% of the country’s total wastewater and connecting 80% of urban households to a sewerage system, by 2020.

At present, around 10% of Viet Nam's wastewater gets treated, and about 60% of urban households are connected to sewerage systems. 

Estimates put the shortfall in skilled workers required to operate and maintain the new technical infrastructure in the wastewater sector at around 8,000 through to 2020.

To support the achievement of its targets the Government of Viet Nam partnered with the Government of Germany to pilot a technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program for individuals wanting to work in the wastewater sector.

In close cooperation with enterprises and the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA), a TVET institute, supported by GIZ, Germany’s international development agency, trained skilled workers for the wastewater sector, capable of operating and maintaining drainage networks, as well as municipal and industrial treatment plants.

This case study is based on a presentation made by Lisa-Marie Kreibich, technical advisor of German Development Agency, GIZ Viet Nam at the 2016 International Skills Forum held at the Asian Development Bank in Manila in September.

Project information

Project snapshot

  • 2014: Start of project
  • Ongoing: Status of project
  • Up to EU€ 5 million (US$ 5.45 million): At current exchange rates
  • Commissioning agency
    • German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Operating agency
    • General Directorate of Vocational Training / Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA)
  • Executing agency
    • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
  • Others
    • Ho Chi Minh Vocational College of Technology: Participating college
    • Ho Chi Minh Urban Drainage, Binh Duong Water Supply-Sewerage and Environment, Vung Tau Urban Sewerage and Development, Can Tho Water Supply and Sewerage, Khanh Hoa Water Supply and Sewerage Company, and Tin Nghia: Participating companies
    • Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA): Participating sector association

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Meet the experts

  • Lisa-Marie Kreibich    
    Technical Advisor, German Development Agency, GIZ Viet Nam

    In her role as technical advisor to the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and the General Directorate for Vocational Training, Lisa-Marie Kreibich has worked for more than 2 years with the Vietnamese partners to improve the demand-orientation of technical and vocational education and training in Viet Nam focusing on the active and regulated involvement of the business sector in TVET. Prior to her current position, she gained experience in human resource development at the International Labour Organization and in the private sector.

  • Karina Veal    
    Senior Education Specialist, Asian Development Bank

    Karina Veal provides strategic and technical advice across ADB's growing education sector operations to assist developing countries meet their education priorities. She focuses on innovative solutions to emerging issues such as 'blended' learning, effective industry engagement, and public-private sharing of educational facilities. Before joining ADB in 2012, she operated an independent consultancy practice in education for development, working with UN and bilateral agencies. Prior to that, she held a variety of public policy leadership and advisory roles.

   Viet Nam, Education, Water
   Last updated: November 2016



The views expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asian Development Bank, its management, its Board of Directors, or its members.

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