Thailand Skills Development Program and Incentives for the Eastern Economic Corridor | Tractus


The Thailand Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is a strategic initiative undertaken by the Thai Government to raise the nation to achieve high-income status within 20 years. The EEC special development zone targets innovative, high value industries in twelve target sectors including digital and smart electronics, aerospace, and smart agriculture.

Source: Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, EEC website

Thailand recognizes that human capital development will be vital to achieve the economic goals of the EEC initiative. Thailand must be able to supply suitably skilled workers to meet the requirements of current and future employers. The current educational system is not adequately aligned to meet either the needs of students or industry. 

To address this issue, Thailand introduced the Demand Driven Education model for the EEC Special Economic Zone earlier this year. This program is designed to facilitate collaboration between industry and educational institutions, supported by both government subsidies and tax privileges, to train employees in a real-world working environment. 

Thailand forecasts new labor demand in the EEC during the period 2021 to 2025 at 560,000 positions, with 53% vocational-level positions and 47% degree-level. The highest demand positions include Digital Technology with more than 146,000 positions, Logistics exceeding 129,000 positions, and Robotics and Automation with more than 91,000 positions. 

The EEC Demand Driven Education model includes several options for collaborative education programs. The most popular program is the EEC Model Type B Program: Short Course Training. Under the Short Course Training model, curriculum and courses are co-developed between the company and an educational institution. Approved training programs qualify for a 50% cost subsidy from the EEC, and the remaining 50% of training costs borne by the Company qualifies for a 250% tax exemption promotion. The program can include online training. 

This program enables a company to leverage existing educational resources and talent to design and execute training programs specifically tailored to the company’s skills requirements. Combined with the 50% cost subsidy and 250% tax exemption, the program minimizes training costs and maximizes the value creation for employers, and also creates value for employees by providing enhanced career opportunities, and for Thailand through increased economic growth and enhanced educational infrastructure.  

The EEC Demand Driven Education initiative also offers models for degree programs and research collaboration. 

The EEC Model Type A Degree Program Collaboration offers cooperative education options including dual degree programs, and supports exchange students, exchange professors, and overseas internships. Curriculums are co-designed between industry and the university. Curriculums are work-based and can include modular outcome-based courses.  

The EEC Research Collaboration program facilitates cooperative research programs between the EEC Human Development Center, educational institutions, and companies/industries operating in the EEC, which can include program elements such as hosting visiting professors, exchange research students, research collaboration, and other forms of collaborative support for industry.  

Industries and economies regardless of region or country are struggling to adapt to rapidly evolving technologies. The demand for skilled workers, especially in the new S-Curve industries, far exceeds the available supply. Trade schools and universities struggle to adapt curriculums and resources to meet the specific requirements of various industries. 

The EEC Demand Driven Education initiative is a valuable resource for existing and prospective employers and investors to acquire and retain the skilled workforce required to succeed and excel in a rapidly evolving technological environment. 

Learn more about the EEC in our related articles: 

Authored by

Frank Timmons is Senior Manager based in our Thailand office (Bangkok).

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