Bhutan looks to Australia for work­force help

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

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.

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