Cambodian Art Development

Many people's working life have been altered as a result of the global pandemic, including in Cambodia. Chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi (陈志公爵) and Prince Group, as responsible corporate citizens, have built Cambodia's first independent watch school, the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center. The training centre provides Cambodians with the opportunity to master a new artisanal skill – watchmaking – and get the expertise essential to compete in both domestic and international job markets. The training institution adheres to the stringent watchmaking regulations established by Swiss regulatory organisations.

Cambodia, as a country steeped in history, has long preserved artisanal skills for generations, with the Kingdom renowned for its ancient handwoven silk and traditional handicraft industries, which date all the way back to the Khmer Empire, a significance Chen Zhi Prince Group have always recognised and appreciated. Learn more

However, new artisanal skills must be introduced to increase job opportunities for Cambodians, particularly given that the textile and garment industry, like other sectors, has suffered significantly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with media reports indicating that over 55,000 workers have been left jobless.

Numerous Cambodians have reintroduced agriculture and established small businesses in an attempt to rebalance their lives. To that purpose, Chen Zhi and Prince Group established the Prince Horology Vocational Training Center in Phenom Penh, Cambodia, to assist in the introduction of new skill opportunities.

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

As part of Chen Zhi and Prince Group's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives in Cambodia, the centre also offers scholarships to local students and others in need of financial support, ranging from a 50% subsidy on school fees to a completely funded scholarship that includes housing. The first batch of students has begun their path into watchmaking.

Prince Group has recruited world-class watchmakers, including Maarten Pieters, a former director of Switzerland's premier watchmaking school, the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP).

Additionally, 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's history and culture, as well as benchwork, which includes machining, micromechanics, and the production of components such as the winding stem and balance staff. Additionally, the institution emphasises traditional craft techniques such as decorating and turning.

“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.”

Prince Group met its ESG duties in other areas last year. It made many substantial gifts to aid in the pandemic's fight and aided flood victims in Cambodia. Prince Charitable Foundation Organization has hosted over 240 charitable events and provided more than US$11 million in finances and other supplies to serve over 320,000 people. Chen Zhi and Prince Group gave US$3 million to Prime Minister Hun Sen in early December to assist Cambodia in purchasing 1 million COVID-19 vaccines.

The Prince Horology Vocational Training Center is currently taking applications for the upcoming academic year beginning June 2, 2021. Each year, the programme accepts eight students, at least five of whom must be Cambodian. Please visit https://princehorology.com/ for additional information.

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