Blue Collar Challenge: 925 people have withdrawn from Build Bhutan Project so far

As of 5 November, Build Bhutan Project (BBP) has registered 3,621 unemployed candidates of which 1,349 are female. From the total registered, 2,076 opted for direct engagement program while 1,468 opted for skilling programs.

In addition, as per the data from the BBP, 925 people have withdrawn of which 582 are from direct engagement program while the rest, 343 are from skilling program. They have withdrawn before getting employed or before going for skilling programs.

From the total registered, BBP have not approved 578 people due to documentation issues. The data also states that they have employed 447 as of date under direct engagement program, 272 under the construction firms, 168 in specialized firms and 33 in private house construction.

Meanwhile, Program Officer of BBP, Phuntsho Dendup said that people are withdrawing because maybe they are engaged in some other activities or they thought it would be difficult to work in the construction sector.

Looking at the numbers of withdrawals, he said, “We feel that people are not ready to take up blue collar jobs.”

871 contractors (including individual building constructions) have registered with the BBP with a demand of 5,376 workers of which 3,126 are unskilled workers. For skilled workers the highest demand was made for mason with 1,031 followed by building carpentry with 506 slots and plumber with 173 slots. The rest are engineers, painter, electrician, machine operator and welder.

“Though the number of registered can fill up the demand, at the end what matters is match making. The registered number does not match with what the contractors are demanding and also the demand comes from various parts of the country,” he said.

So an unemployed person residing in Thimphu does not want to go to other districts to work and vise versa. It was learnt that the employees prefer to work in a place where they do not have to travel far from the place of their stay and in some cases, even when the camp facilities are provided at the work site, most workers do not want to stay there as they do not want to stay away from their families.

He said that despite registering with the BBP, the turnout is not even 10 percent when they are being called, adding that after sending messages and calling 600 people, only 30 plus had come.

“From the total turnout, maximum are female candidates, however, the employers are not willing to absorb them. So it becomes difficult for us to employ them or match-make, which ultimately leaves the post vacant,” he added. 

BBP has also received complaints from both the employees and employers. He said that employers complain saying workers are not ready to work over time while the employee complains of not getting paid on time. 

Keeping those in mind, he said that they are trying to work on smooth coordination between the two parties and to make everyone happy and benefited.

246 are undergoing skilling program in various TTI’s and the first batch consisting of 65 people have graduated from various fields. The second batch will be graduating in few days. All the 65 people who have graduated are on On the Job Training (OJT), he added.

BBP is working closely with the CAB and if they come requesting for a workers, they are ready to render their help with the deployment of workers.

However, an official from CAB said that they have approached labor ministry with a request to provide them workers as demanded by the contractors but as of now they did not get any update on this from the ministry.

An engineer working in private construction said that they have recruited few national workers; however, they are not consistent as compared to foreign laborers. She said, “To retain them we have to give them various incentives and wage increment in particular. For that matter, we are trying to retain our existing foreign laborers.”

She had 200 plus foreign laborers at site but the number has now come down to 25 laborers whereby it has become challenging for them. However, they are not compromising the work quality, she added.  

The ministry suggests contractors to register online if they need workers. BBP with a budget outlay of Nu 1.040 bn was launched on 1 July this year which aims to train and employee 7,000 youths.

The number of specialized firms that employ these youth as part of professional services has reached 17 from 7 firms in one month. 

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