Getting Ready For Work Programme


Saigonchildren believes that learning is the way to a better life, a sustainable career, and the ability to adequately support family and loved ones. That is why we offer teenagers who are out of school and undergraduates who find themselves in difficult circumstances the opportunity to develop themselves and integrate into work and social life. The Programme consists of 3 main projects:

  1. Vocational Training & Job Placement
  2. English and Computer Literacy Classes & Extracurricular Activities
  3. Soft Skills Development & Career Support

For more than 31 years, we’ve shaped the lives of over 10,000 disadvantaged young adults. The young adults who are part of the Programme enhance their employability by completing essential work-ready skills at Thăng Long English and Vocational Training School, and vocational training taught at prestigious partner institutions in Ho Chi Minh City.

About the Thăng Long English and Vocational Training School

The Programme accepts disadvantaged young adults to study at the Thăng Long English and Vocational Training School. The school supports over 500 disadvantaged students yearly with English, IT, Art-related classes free of charge, along with supplementary textbooks, workbooks and other necessary materials as part of the scholarship. They also provide extracurricular activities for the duration of the course.

The teachers are highly trained, with English teachers required to have graduated from university and possess previous teaching experience, while the IT staff are encouraged to enrol in advanced courses to enhance their skills in order to meet the requirements of the newest teaching programme curriculum. Additionally, they are required to take part in regular workshops of the Developing training Programme moderated by our qualified volunteers.

Follow the link to find out more about the application process (Vietnamese only).

Vocational Training & Job Placement

Only 59% of children complete upper secondary school (UNICEF)

The Vocational Training and Job Placement project supports disadvantaged young adults aged 16-25 to receive free vocational training courses at different partner institutions in HCMC. These students learn the knowledge and skills required to secure a job aligned with their interests, capabilities, and ambition. They’re also supported in seeking work by being encouraged to consider the salary and job opportunities in their city or hometown to pursue their interests.

Some of the professions we provide support and exposure for are:

  • Baking
  • Bartending
  • Beautician
  • Culinary Arts
  • Engineering
  • Car Mechanic
  • Software Development

These courses bridge the gap between formal education skills and needs of the labour market which remains a barrier to young people entering the workforce. The Vietnamese School-to-Work Survey reveals a 43% labour underutilisation rate for young workers, meaning those that find themselves unemployed, inactive and out of school, or in an irregular or temporary job.

The outcome is for students to expand their work-related skills, whilst receiving the necessary work-transition support to find work. As of 2023, graduates from this project had a remarkable 90% employment rate, setting them up with a stable career-path and the skills needed to succeed. 

Nguyễn Công Danh, a vocational student shared about her experience:

“I could not afford my tuition fees… This support not only helps me pay off the remaining debt for school, and other substantial fees (insurance, exam preparation, etc.) but it also relieves my stress and serves as a huge motivation for me to strive for my education.”

English and Computer Literacy Classes & Extracurricular Activities

“The lack of English communication skills at work is a profound cause that makes individuals unable to choose a good job” (Hoi H. 2020)

English classes are offered yearly to 400 students at the Thăng Long School by a team of fully certified teaching staff. These classes are organised into different levels (Beginner, Elementary, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate and Upper Intermediate) based on an entry placement test. This gives them a tailored education that meets them where they’re at with their knowledge.

The students get to engage in real English communication practice sessions with dedicated volunteers that are native-speakers. Our fun activity days and excursions like the annual English Fun Day offer valuable exposure to teamwork, and expands their English knowledge from an academic level to a practical level they can use beyond the classroom.

Upon completion of the highest level, students are encouraged to take the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) at no extra charge (priced around 1,500,000 VNĐ normally). This equips them with an internationally recognised English certification. Studies found 2/3 of employers value English in non-native English-speaking countries, while as many as 95% found English language skills important.  

Computer literacy classes are also offered to equip the students with work-ready computer skills. Their learning follows the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification curriculum in the span of 3-9 months. At the end, students are encouraged to take the MOS exam, valued at $100USD. This certicate set them apart to future employers, allowing them to join the labour force with the skills to back them up.

Other benefits of having an MOS certificate:

  • Earn 15% more than other employees on average
  • Nearly 20% more productive
  • Longer tenure period

Extracurricular Classes

Those attending Thăng Long school have the choice to take part in extracurricular classes like art, dance, and singing to develop a wide range of talents. Students are empowered to tap into their creativity and find where their passions lie. This holistic approach give these vulnerable youth the opportunity to receive a full education, which is invaluable for many who had to discontinue their studies for financial reasons.

Soft Skills Development & Personal Support

The third project provides our young recipients with soft skills training on topics like Communication Skills, Attitudes and Appearances, Budget Management, and Internet and Personal Safety. These are developed through events and excursions organised by the school, and provide a foundation for their personal and professional life. There is also additional support for those that encounter challenges in their personal lives because of their difficult circumstances through one-on-one counselling and flexibility in their learning.

One of our Thăng Long students, Thanh Phương, described his experience as follows:

“I took the chance to converse with older trainees and discovered that every individual has their own story, but the flame of tireless effort always burns inside them. Regardless of the challenges they face, they remain optimistic and keep smiling. I have learnt a lot about sharing and empathy from this experience.”

We hope to reach more students and provide them with the same enriching opportunity our past alumni have gained when entering the labour market.

If you’re interested in helping us reach more young adults and give them a chance at life, please reach out to us at [email protected] or consider becoming a donor today: