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Vietnam accelerates plan to train 50,000 semiconductor engineers
Ngoc Mai 20:35, 2024/02/28
Vietnam aims to become a key player in the global semiconductor industry, with a skilled engineering team to fulfill both the quality and quantity requirements of the domestic sector.

The Vietnamese Government would accelerate the plan to train 50,000 engineers to participate in the semiconductor industry by 2030.

 Electronics production at Samsung plant in Vietnam. Photo: Hoang Anh/The Hanoi Times

“The objective is to have a skilled workforce that is capable of being deeply involved in the design process of modern semiconductor circuits, covering both front-end and back-end aspects. Additionally, they should be able to actively participate in the packaging and testing phases of semiconductor circuits.”

Minister of Planning and Investment (MPI) Nguyen Chi Dung shared the view during a meeting held on February 27 to discuss the draft proposal on the development of human resources in Vietnam’s semiconductor industry by 2030, with a vision to 2045.

He stated that the MPI will concentrate on synthesizing opinions from relevant parties to refine the proposal and promptly submit it to the Government in the first quarter of 2024.

Based on this, Vietnam aims to master some of the packaging and testing technology. Engineers involved in semiconductor manufacturing plants are expected to progressively grasp the technology at each production stage.“The nationwide plan is to train 50,000 engineers for all stages of the value chain,” Dung said.

By 2045, Vietnam aspires to become an important link in the global semiconductor industry's value chain, with a competent engineering team capable of meeting the domestic industry's development requirements in terms of both quality and quantity.

Vu Quoc Huy, Director of the National Innovation Center (NIC), added another aspect to clarify the necessity, solutions, tasks, and assignments for the relevant agencies and units in charge of implementing the proposal.

Huy mentioned that from September 2023 to February 2024, NIC and the MPI conducted various activities to aid in the research and development of the proposal.

NIC surveyed leading semiconductor companies, research institutes, and top engineering universities in Vietnam to assess their training and research capabilities in the semiconductor industry. The agency also sought opinions from experts to forecast Vietnam's training needs and capabilities until 2030, with a vision towards 2045, involving experts from the US, Taiwan (China), France, the Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Belgium, and other countries.

Huy said the NIC has also held discussions and assessed the demands for potential investment, collaboration, and scholarship provision for Vietnam's international semiconductor-related businesses, corporations, and training institutions.

Consequently, NIC will work with Vietnamese experts in Silicon Valley and leading semiconductor industry entities (such as Cadence, FPT, and the University of Arizona) to organize short-term training programs for lecturers, students, and engineers willing to move into the semiconductor industry.

During the feedback session on the draft proposal, representatives from various agencies, businesses, universities, research institutes, and Vietnamese experts at home and abroad praised the contents of the draft proposal for developing the domestic semiconductor industry.

Overall, the opinions align with the proposals of the MPI, emphasizing the role of major technology companies, state-owned enterprises, state investment funds, industry-university collaboration, and international cooperation in training, importing training programs, and attracting talent.

The NIC is currently tasked with carrying out activities to develop the semiconductor industry ecosystem and workforce in Vietnam, through collaborations with organizations, enterprises, and universities from strong economies in the semiconductor field (such as the US, Japan, Taiwan, Germany, South Korea, and the Netherlands).

Experts commended the NIC for its recent collaboration with Cadence, the University of Arizona, FPT, and the National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University (Taiwan, China) to establish chip design training centers, organize training courses for lecturers and students, and provide software licenses and scholarships for universities. This initial step is crucial in laying the groundwork for implementing the tasks set out in the proposal.

Vietnam has been increasingly attracting major semiconductor corporations from the US, South Korea, Japan, and European countries. Last September, US President Joe Biden visited Vietnam and elevated the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. As a result, one of the key areas of cooperation identified was innovation, including the development of the semiconductor industry. There are currently over 50 large foreign direct investment (FDI) enterprises investing in Vietnam's electronics and semiconductor industry, with semiconductor design being the sector that requires the most skilled workers. Economic experts, such as those at Fulbright University, predict that Vietnam will need around 20,000 skilled workers with at least a university degree in the semiconductor-microchip field in the next five years and approximately 50,000 in the next ten years.

According to Custom Market Insights, the global semiconductor market is estimated to reach US$634.5 billion in 2023. By 2032, the total revenue for this market is expected to be around $1.1 trillion. US chip imports from Vietnam increased from $321.7 million in February 2022 to over $562 million in February 2023, capturing an 11.6% share of the US market and ranking third behind Malaysia and Taiwan (China), according to Bloomberg data.

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