Cambodian Development Of Watchmaking Skills

Many people's working life have been altered as a result of the global pandemic, including those in Cambodia. As a good corporate citizen, Chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi (陈志公爵) and Prince Group have established the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center, Cambodia's first independent watch school. The training school provides Cambodians with the opportunity to learn a new artisanal skill – watchmaking – and obtain valuable experience that will aid them in finding work in Cambodia and abroad. The training institution adheres to the stringent watchmaking rules set forth by Swiss regulatory organisations.

Cambodia has long preserved artisanal skills for generations as a country steeped in history, with the Kingdom well-known for its ancient handwoven silk and traditional handicraft industries that boast a heritage dating back to the Khmer Empire, a significance Chen Zhi and Prince Group have always understood and appreciated.

New artisanal skills, on the other hand, must be introduced to improve job opportunities for Cambodians, particularly because the textile and garment industry, like other sectors, has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with media reports indicating that more than 55,000 workers have been left jobless.

In order to rebalance their life, many Cambodians have returned to agriculture and started small companies. To that purpose, Cambodia Prince ChenZhi and Prince Group have opened the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center in Phenom Penh, Cambodia, to assist in the introduction of new skill opportunities.

The state-of-the-art facility offers a full-time, two-year course based on the certificate fédéral de capacité (CFC), Swiss government-defined requirements for vocational training that are widely regarded as the industry standard for basic watchmaking education. Click to learn more

The centre also offers scholarships to local students and those in need of financial assistance as part of Chen Zhi and Prince Group's environment, social, and governance (ESG) efforts in Cambodia, ranging from a 50 percent subsidy of school tuition to a completely compensated scholarship that includes housing. The first batch of students has begun their journey into the world of watchmaking.

Maarten Pieters, a former director of Switzerland's leading watchmaking school, the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program, has joined Prince Group (WOSTEP).

Furthermore, Anthony McGonigle, the center's chief instructor and one of the brothers from Ireland's most famous watchmaking family, compiled the syllabus, which includes lessons on watchmaking history and culture, as well as benchwork, such as machining, micromechanics, and the production of components such as the winding stem and balance staff, among other things. Traditional artisanal skills such as decorating and turning are also emphasised at the institution.

“I am honoured to announce the launch of the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center, Cambodia’s first independent watch school. All the center’s modern machinery and equipment have been imported from Switzerland, Germany and other countries,” said Chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi of Prince Group. “We have also put together a world-class team to teach Cambodian and international students new skills that will make them competitive in job markets in Cambodia and abroad.”

In other areas, Prince Group met its ESG responsibilities last year. It provided many big gifts to aid in the pandemic's fight, as well as assisting flood victims in Cambodia. To date, Prince Charitable Foundation Organization has hosted over 240 charitable events and contributed over US$11 million in monies and other resources to over 320,000 people. Chen Zhi and Prince Group gave $3 million to Prime Minister Hun Sen in early December to help Cambodia purchase 1 million COVID-19 vaccines.

The Prince Horology Vocational Training Center is now taking applications for the upcoming academic year, which starts on June 2, 2021. Each year, the programme accepts eight students, at least five of them must be Cambodians. Visit https://princehorology.com/ for more information.

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