When Pactics designed and built our new state-of-the-art facility in Siem Reap, we were excited to be able to offer fair and competitive employment opportunities to the local community. We received many applications, and were able to quickly fill the majority of positions.

There were, however, a few roles that weren’t quite so easy to fill. Specifically we needed technically-minded people to manage the maintenance of our equipment and the development of our automation projects, but we simply couldn’t find anyone to fit the bill.

While there are numerous higher education centres in Siem Reap there is currently nowhere offering technical training or engineering education. However we discovered that such training is available as the National Polytechnic Institute of Phnom Penh.

We could have approached the Institute and enquired about gifted recent graduates who might be willing to move to Siem Reap, and this is indeed something we considered. However we knew this didn’t fit in with our vision for our factory in Cambodia; we purposely chose to base ourselves in Siem Reap so that we could offer jobs to people from this area, meaning they no longer needed to leave their families and travel to find work.

At Pactics we strongly believe in the importance of nurturing our staff and supporting capacity building, so we decided to support the technical education of students native to Siem Reap.

To do this we partnered with the Ponheary Ly Foundation, an incredible local non-profit organisation that makes it possible for thousands of young people in rural Cambodia to complete their education up to grade 12. They were able to recommend two motivated grade 12 students who were especially talented in maths and science, both of whom just happened to be girls.

When we met Huonh and Phour they were preparing to begin a course that in Cambodia is considered appropriate for their gender, but didn’t fit with their skills or interests. We offered to sponsor their studies at the National Polytechnic Institute in Phnom Penh, and at the end of their degree they would both have jobs at the Pactics factory in Siem Reap.

Both Huonh and Phour were thrilled by the idea, although enrolling them into the Institute wasn’t as straight-forward as we’d hoped! It turned out that they were the first two women in Cambodia to ever attempt to enroll on this course, and the Institute wasn’t initially sure that it was a good idea.

However with much support from the Ponheary Ly Foundation, Huonh and Phour convinced the Institute they were certain this was the path for them, and are now busy studying technical courses in Phnom Penh. We are incredibly proud to report that they are currently ranked numbers 1 and 2 in their class, proving that if the boys can do it, the girls can do it too!