Civil service is not the end as Labour Ministry is coming up with ambitious employment programs in 12th plan

Apart from that Japan and Canada are the new overseas destinations being explored by the Labour Ministry

The much coveted job vacancies in the civil service is not enough to meet the massive number of youth graduating each year.

There are only 589 civil service vacancies up for grabs for the 3,458 graduates this year. That is 5 applicants for a single vacancy.

The graduates who will not make the cut to be civil servants will have to look for other career options in the corporations, private sector, or take up entrepreneurship activities.

Graduates already seem to be looking for or opting for other job options beyond the civil service giving the gradual fall in the number of applicants. This year there were 426 lesser applicants and 95 more job vacancies in the civil service.

According to the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC), there are many factors that need to be taken into consideration to come up with a concrete reason to justify the drop in the numbers. There are no analyses or studies on the issue so far.

Thus, the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources (MoLHR) has come up with 12th FYP for Human Resource Development (HRD) Masterplan for economic sectors, which is designed for both young jobseekers as well as those workforce requiring re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities.

The Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, Sonam Wangchuk, said that the ministry will work towards securing productive and gainful employment of young jobseekers in transition to work. “This will be done in collaboration with different stakeholders and partner agencies. With increasing job opportunities in the private sector, HRD for the sector is an important strategy to further accelerate growth and employment opportunities.

The officials from the ministry said that they will continue to engage the youth through the existing Direct Employment Scheme, Overseas Program and other programs.

“We will be inviting potential employers from Japan and Middle East and we are also working with National Land Commission to engage the youth under the Land Use Right program that is initiated by the commission. We are, however, dependent on the availability of budget to initiate and implement the new programs.”

The ministry is working on new overseas job employers in Japan and Canada.

“We are, however, dependent on availability of budget to initiate and implement new programs. Japan and Canada are the new overseas destinations that we are currently working on,” said the labour official.

The key human resource development (HRD) program interventions that the labour ministry will come up are Critical Skills Development, Critical Capability Development (in-service HRD), Entrepreneurship Development, Industry Attachment and learning, Technical Training Institutes and Zorig Chusum (TTIs and IZCs), and Alternative Skilling programs.

Critical Skills Development

As per the labour ministry, critical skills are geared towards skilling the young jobseekers entering the labour market. It will also seek to address skills shortage within different sectors. Areas have been identified considering the demand within the existing industry and new potential in the economy so that individuals can set up their small businesses at the end of the program. A total of about 60 different areas have been identified to be implemented and a total of 5000 youth is expected to benefit from this program.

Critical Capability Development

Training and development needs required within the existing workforce to enhance performance and productivity will be address under Critical Capability Development. This will be geared towards up-skilling the needs of the existing workforce to address skills gap within different sectors. There will be greater focus towards building the technical capacity of workforce through re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities. Generic and basic trainings implemented in the past will be done away with. In the last two plan periods, much of the resources were spent on skilling young people in different areas. Therefore, efforts will be made to up-skill them. The Masterplan will seek to explore support for short-term diploma programs ranging from one to six months


With the existing labour market challenges, labour ministry said that entrepreneurship support programs will be an important strategy in the 12th FYP period. All critical skills support will be complemented with entrepreneurial skills. Capacity within the private training providers will be built to provide entrepreneurship skills through different TOT programs. Simultaneously, effort will be made to integrate entrepreneurship learning within the schools, training institutions and colleges, so that the new generations of jobseekers will have entrepreneurship knowledge and awareness, as and when they enter the labour market. This is also expected to change the perception among young jobseekers on self-employment avenues, as per the Masterplan. All beneficiaries will be supported through the PSL and other micro lending schemes available in the country.

Industry Attachment and learning

Industry attachment and learning programs will be strengthened in the 12th FYP, based on the past learning experiences. MoLHR will be annually engaging more than 3000 youth in different industry learning programs. A total of 6000 youth will be engaged through the short-term industry engagement program.

TTIs and IZCs

There will be a stronger thrust in strengthening Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the 12th FYP. The budget allocation for the MoLHR has been increased with emphasis on revamping the TVET system. Within the existing TTIs and IZCs, the enrollment capacity is expected to double. The intake will gradually be enhanced to enroll higher number of secondary graduates into the TVET programs. A new TTI will be established in Thimphu with funding support from ADB. The new TTI will venture into providing automobile, ICT and media related skills.

The comprehensive HRD Masterplan has also been formulated with the objective to attract more youth to join private sectors by coming up with such schemes. “Over the course of years to come, Bhutan will continue to see increasing number of young people pursuing higher education. However, the current strategy of matching existing industry requirement to influence supply from the tertiary and TVET institutions will have to be complemented by relevant and effective school-work-transition support services for jobseekers.”

The Masterplan states that concerted effort will be made to nurture a jobseeker into someone with skills and confidence to take up diverse opportunities in the labour market. “Skilling support, wherein only core skills are provided, will be complemented by provision of employability skills and entrepreneurship knowledge. An employability skill (also known as transferable skill) is becoming an important necessity for individuals in getting, keeping and being successful in jobs,” states the report.

The labour ministry will give more emphasis on self-employment or entrepreneurship opportunities, keeping into consideration the limited jobs in the market. Efforts will be made to support skilling in areas where there are opportunities for self-employment. Therefore, skilling effort will be complemented with entrepreneurship knowledge. During the post-program, beneficiaries will be supported to develop proposal and process micro-finances to set up their own businesses. Incubation support will also be encouraged in partnership with relevant agencies, states the report.

To strengthen an entrepreneurship culture, an image building on self-employment avenues for young jobseekers will also be made a priority. The ministry has plans of entrepreneurship fair, camps, start-up program, among others. Success stories will be used to generate interest and build the image in taking up entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities, according to the HRD Masterplan.

The HRD-committee has been set up to bring a greater collaboration and cooperation among different sector bodies and MoLHR in implementation of different HRD interventions and programs.

A requirement of a total of Nu 1.9 bn has been estimated for the implementation of the Masterplan. The HRD committee took into consideration that the 12,000 to 13,000 jobseekers will enter the labour market annually and the School-To-Work Transition (STWT) support will be provided to a total of 24,000 jobseekers in the 12th FYP, with an annual target to engage about 5,000 young jobseekers. STWT support will be provided through three main programs- critical skills, entrepreneurship and industry attachment programs. Intake within the TTIs and IZCs will be gradually increased to take in more secondary graduates. These programs will be implemented in partnership with different focal agencies.

Training partners for imparting different modality of skills that the labour ministry comes up will be encouraged to provide gender equity during the enrollment and execution of the training program. Access will also be provided to special groups.

A total of 5,000 will be skilled through the critical skills program (pre-service HRD) and a total of 2,230 through critical capabilities program (in-service HRD).

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