Aim is to engage 15,000 Bhutanese workers in the next few years
As of 1 October, 3,155 people have registered online with the Ministry of Labor for Build Bhutan Project (BBP) since their launch. From the total registered people, they were able to place 271 people under direct engagement.
An official said that they would have been able to place more number of people but due to recent lockdown people got stranded around the country they were not able to do it. He said that 271 includes those people who have been engaged under specialized firm project.
He said, “Under BBP project, the targeted people are unemployed youths, people who have been laid off, recipients of kidu and those who have come back from abroad. There can be people who does not fall under any of the categories and those we are not able to support but these people are working under construction sector and under specialized firms as well.”
They have enrolled 77 people in various Technical Training Institutes in the country to undergo first batch of training. Only 15 trainees who have undergone plumbing training has completed their training last week while the rest are still undergoing training.
“The 15 plumbers are under on-job-training for now and they will spend another few months learning under skilled supervisor. 20 percent of their total training duration has been spent in the institute and 80 percent will have to be in the field. After that they will be given NC2 certificate, for those who can make it out,” he said.
In couple of weeks, carpenters will graduate followed by masonry and others. In addition, he also said that they will enroll 300 plus people in the second batch of training. However, they are yet to get confirmed number of enrollment from 5 TTI’s in the country.
The rest of the people who have registered will be reconsidered and most probably the third batch of training will begin in the month of December in which they will take around 100 unemployed youths.
Meanwhile, he said, “The highest demand comes from Thimphu followed by Chukha and Phuentsholing but we were not able to engage youths in the south there because of the COVID-19 situation. Gelephu and Samdrupjongkhar has the same issue.”
However, they are looking into ways and means to see if they are interested to come here where the situation is not that bad and engage them. Everyday they will be in a process in facilitating them and they are working from headquarter and from four regional offices, he added.
As per the figure from the ministry, the available vacancies are 3,960 but that does not represent the overall requirement in the construction sector. If they take overall approximate number of foreign workers in the construction sector, at this time of the year there should be 50,000 plus (90 percent engaged in construction sector) but today, Bhutan has only 18,000 of foreign workers today.
So, this means the actual shortage is 30,000 he said, adding that, however according to the registered vacancies, it is just 3,960 vacancies against 3,153 applicants out of which 30 percent have chosen to undergo trainings.
“At any point in time the requirement in construction sector is 40,000 to 45,000 and BBP can never fill up that gap. But we are hopeful that with lots of mechanization and specialization we can engage 15,000 Bhutanese workers in next few years,” he said.
The BBP aims at addressing the immediate workforce gap in the construction sector, a situation further spawned by COVID-19. In the long run, it looks at creating a national workforce, that not just answers the demand for skills but also provides avenues for employment.
BBP was launched on 1 July 2020.
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