Bhutan looks to Australia for workforce help
B ut maintaining that happiness while also having a productive workforce is an area of focus for the country.
A delegation of 12 people from Bhutan recently visited Mildura and Robinvale, in northern Victoria, to tour TAFEs, universities and farms and learn about workforce development.
Bhutan, with a population of just 700,000 people, has a workplace plan for the whole country.
Wendy Perry, from Workforce Blue Print who is leading the group, said she could not think of another example of a whole country having one plan.
She said she had been working with Bhutan for a number of years on this, and had visited their country, but she said this visit was an eye opening experience for those visiting Australia.
“There is nothing like seeing it in action, and visiting all the different organisations and agencies and seeing how it actually works,” she said.
“They wanted to see international good practice.”
Ms Perry said the main industries they were focused on were agriculture, tourism, and construction.
But underlying all this, she said they operate on a ‘Gross National Happiness’ philosophy.
“Balancing economic development with culture and maintaining social fabric and also with the environment.”
So their philosophy around workforce planning and development goes a bit further really, because they want to see people have aspiration to achieve things.
Kinley Wangdi, who works for the Labour and Human Resources department in Bhutan, said everywhere he travelled people were always interested in their ‘happiness’.
“Wherever we go around the world people ask us what Gross National Happiness means, ‘please tell?’”
He said that learning about workplace training had a direct link with the happiness of the people, especially in human resources.
Mr Wangdi said agriculture was a high priority in his country because they were landlocked and needed to be more self reliant.
Currently, Bhutan imports a lot of food from nearby India.
Plus, he said, Bhutan was made up of villages, not cities.
“So agriculture is not only livelihood, it’s a way of life,” Mr Wangdi said.
“It has a direct correlation with culture
“And culture is one of the very important components to pursue the gross national happiness.”
Sandwiched between India and China, the Kingdom of Bhutan is most famous for its ranking as the happiest country in Asia.