After the launch of the first Skills Development Plan (SDP) course, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) has trained 288 candidates in 17 different types of skilling area. Of the total trained candidates, 185 are male and 103 are female.
The first SDP was launched on 4 October 2021, upon the Royal Command, to mitigate unemployment problems caused by the pandemic and to ensure inclusive and sustainable recovery through effective intervention in skills training and professional development.
One objective is to enhance the country’s economic resilience in the post-pandemic situation through intervention in skills development in the next two fiscal years (2021-22 and 2022-23).
An official from the MoLHR said, “One among many strategies is the program of enhancing the resilience of the Bhutanese workforce through provision of high quality training tuned to the needs of the emerging economy.”
He further said that SDP seeks to address the shortage of skilled workforce in different economic sectors through provision of relevant and high-quality training aligned to the needs of the country.
The target groups under SDP are job seekers, laid-off employees and overseas returnees and have identified 108 different courses in the nine priority sectors.
Agriculture, Business and Services, Computing and IT, Construction, Creative Arts and Design, Electrical, Electronic and Mechanical, Manufacturing, Power and Renewable Energy, and Tourism and Hospitality are the sectors the ministry has prioritized.
“Currently, there are 441 candidates (job seekers and laid-off) who are undergoing training in 18 different courses. However, with the current pandemic situation and lockdowns, the ongoing courses couldn’t complete as scheduled with some courses still on hold since 17 January 2022,” he said.
In addition, it was learnt that there are 38 courses announced with 1,007 slots to be implemented under SDP. Moreover, he said that the Basic Entrepreneurship Course (BEC) is also provided to job seekers right after the training to promote self-employment and to generate more job opportunities.
Meanwhile, highlighting the budget spent on the program, he said, “As of 16 March 2022, the Ministry has spent around Nu. 35 mn including the on-going and completed trainings.”
He further added that the expenditure also includes the review and development of SDP curriculum, procurement of training materials and equipment, Master Trainers’ recruitment and the Basic Entrepreneurship course, which is provided as the post-training program.
The jobseeker should be class X and above to apply for the courses under the SDP. However, for those who do not meet the criteria for courses, they are provided opportunities in other courses that require less qualification or if they are illiterate.
Tailoring, weaving, mushroom production, vegetable production and paintings are some of the courses for that particular group, he said, adding that they are also given opportunities through the mode of Village Skills Development Program (VSDP).
Through VSDP, he said, “We intend to provide them with new skills of particular usefulness in secondary activities to supplement their household incomes. The available courses under VSDP are construction carpentry, stone masonry, brick masonry, furniture making, plumbing, house wiring, home appliance repair and maintenance, A/C Repair and maintenance and cane and basket weaving.”
However, he said that for that course, a minimum 15 candidates from per gewog should apply for the training, as the courses are offered as per the demand from the Dzongkhag or Gewog level.
A candidate training under the program is entitled to a stipend of Nu 3,500 per month, and accommodation and meals are subject to the provision of such facilities by the concerned institute.