International trainer helps improve employability of disadvantaged people in Vietnam

An international trainer based in Saudi Arabia has spent 2015 training and certifying teachers in Vietnam using CIEH materials so that they can go on to deliver high-quality training themselves to less fortunate people to help boost their skills and chances of employment.  


David Magee - Koto (Hanoi) 

 David Magee with a class in Hanoi  

David Magee is the brains behind (OSHL), which is an organisation dedicated to raising awareness of Occupational Safety and Health, as well as making training accessible to as many people as possible through developing literacy and learning skills.

OSHL was first established in 2014 and David was inspired to start the training organisation following a long teaching career, where he worked in vocational education and special needs. Here he gave young persons with low levels of literacy the skills needed to safely and successfully enter the workplace or take-up vocational training.

David, also a member of the Institute of Hospitality (MIH) and the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (PMCTH), had been working on international projects voluntarily for a number of years with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in developing countries, especially in South East Asia. His particular focus was teaching individuals the requisite literacy levels needed for the workplace, in particular health and safety, which could help improve their job prospects.

However, David recognised that having low levels of literacy was acting as a barrier to fully understand safety training for many learners. He also felt that the NGOs and the colleges the NGOs used didn’t have the financial or expert resources required to deliver robust and certificated Health and Safety training. So in March 2015, David formalised plans to help build-up the skills of the teachers and trainers in this area.

As part of the plans, David registered OSHL as a training centre with the CIEH so that he could deliver a number of CIEH’s courses, including the Education and Training (EAT) and Teaching Principles and Practise (TPP) courses.

With David putting up his own money to get OSHL off the ground, he began to deliver training in Vietnam between 18 September and 3 October while he could take time off from his training job in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj Holiday.

Vietnam was chosen by David for several reasons but mainly because he hadn’t been to the country before and there were already a number of good projects being run by NGOs to train vulnerable children to get jobs. Additionally, David was aware that the region had a booming hospitality and tourism industries, which was a specialist area for David, and his training could benefit lots of people secure jobs in these sectors.

David says: “The hospitality sector is close to my heart. I originally left school at 16 and trained as a chef, which allowed me to leave my native Belfast, broaden my horizons and get a career, which eventually led to teaching and training.”

During his few weeks in Vietnam, David focused on delivering training for the Level 1 and Level 2 awards in Food Hygiene and Workplace Health and Safety.

He said that his trip to Vietnam was a great success:

“I delivered courses in centres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and with the help of a translator, as well as some inclusive and novel teaching and learning techniques, both the students and teachers were able to understand and appreciate what I was trying to get across,” he said.

“I was amazed by their subject knowledge and their keenness to learn as well as their appreciation. They all undertook the Level 1 Awards in Food Hygiene and Workplace Health and Safety and there was a 100% pass rate for the courses.

David added: “I was very pleased with the results, which just go to show that if health and safety training is delivered in an accessible way, then the once unachievable, i.e. gaining an internationally recognised certificate, becomes achievable.

"This helps to develop confidence and empowers the young people with the skills and confidence needed to enter into employment. Hopefully it will also inspire them to cascade a health and safety culture into their personal lives, their work and within their local communities.”

While in Vietnam, David also linked up with the KOTO Foundation in Hanoi and Saigon, a vocational training organisation for street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam, the Saigon Children’s Charity, which helps disadvantaged Vietnamese children get an education and a fairer start in life and the HoaSua training college in Hanoi. David picked these organisation as he felt they were all doing excellent work with minimal resources.

David is now planning for the next visit to Vietnam in March 2016 and would like to teach more Level 2 certificates, as well as adding Fire Safety and First Aid training to his portfolio.

“Hopefully the vocational training colleges will eventually register as training centres in their own right, which means they can share their skills and learning with others without needing me,” said David. “Additionally, there might be the potential for the colleges and NGOs to develop community health and safety outreach programmes in the local communities in which they work.”

david magee David hopes to secure additional funding for OSHL and if successful, he would like to deliver similar training in Thailand, the Philippines and in India.

“I would also really love to run workplace health and safety and trainer courses closer to home for the legions of contractors working on the building sites for the Qatar World Cup and Dubai Expo,” he said.

“Just a little training in Occupational Safety and Health awareness and how to make training accessible to learners with low levels of literacy would make first-aid and general workplace health and safety training really beneficial and useful for them.”

If anyone would like more information or would like to get involved with these projects please visit the OSH literacy webpage or contact David via email.

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