A Kuwaiti delegation led by the Vice Chairman of Alshaya Company, Abdulla Alshaya, was in Bhutan for a meeting with the Labour and Human Resources Minister, Ngeema Sangay Tshempo, and senior officials on May 1 in Thimphu.
Alshaya, a company based in Kuwait, is interested to promote job opportunities for Bhutanese jobseekers and offer specialized training as well.
The Kuwaiti delegation said they would like to provide training in retailing to those jobseekers interested in becoming retailers. Alshaya is also interested in recruiting Bhutanese workers to work in car dealership, as sales person in shops, restaurants and hotels. “It is all about the service, which is why we know that there is a high quality of spoken English in Bhutan,” said an official from Alshaya.
The company has plans to set up at least 500-600 new store shops and they are willing to train Bhutanese jobseekers to handle the customer service works and cashier jobs.
“Training institute can be established here in Bhutan and it can also be a training ground for the Bhutanese youth. Train them in same system that Kuwait operates in other countries,” said Lyonpo Ngeema Sangay Tshempo.
Lyonpo said that 99.9% of Bhutanese agree to work overseas but will not settle there. “We should sign a bond between two countries,” Lyonpo said and added that it is a good opportunity for the youth to work abroad and earn money. “I see lot of prospect, especially in hospitability sector, entertainment and retailer that is fast and does not need much effort,” he added.
The ministry is also willing to extend the five-year stay abroad rule if a Bhutanese worker gets a permanent job there.
Secretary, MoLHR, Pema Wangda said that Bhutanese workers are allowed to work abroad for only three years and return to Bhutan so to avoid migration problem. He said in case Alshaya, the company wants to establish a training institution in Bhutan which allows the company to be registered as training institute.
This is expected to bring in trainers from Kuwait to work as part of training program and deliver courses as part of ministry’s program. “Alshaya could set up a new training institute with the any of the technical institutes of Bhutan,” he added.
Lyonpo said that it is important but costlier for the ministry to train the jobseekers and is glad that Alshaya is willing to train the jobseekers. The ministry will provide the infrastructure and negotiate with established organizations.
The Secretary said the MoLHR, under government initiative, has sent 200 jobseekers, both male and female, to India to train in beauty parlor and spa.
He said that overseas employment should help the unemployed youth as there are about 8000 to 9000 unemployed youth registered with the ministry. “The government does not want to send people who are already employed and our country needs the work force to run our country. Most of the jobseekers are university graduates, high school passed out and few technical graduates,” he added. The Secretary said there is a large pool of graduates with commerce background.
Director, Department of Employment, MoLHR, Jamyang Galley said, “We would like to request Alshaya to support us as we have qualified people but with no experience, therefore, if Alshaya can to take the jobseekers under internship according to the capacity then it will be the stepping stone where we can collaborate.”
The ministry does not allow Bhutanese workers to work as domestic helpers or in family-run small businesses where labour law is not applied and the possibility of exploitation is high. The ministry is looking at the multinational and well established companies to send the workers.
Alshaya Company was founded in Kuwait in 1980. It is recognized as one of the most dynamic trading business in the middle east, and increasingly internationally. It deals in real estate, hotels and hospitality, marketing communications entertainment and leisure, automotive, manufacturing and general trading. Alshaya partners with some of world leading brands including hotels like, Starwood, Oberoi, and automobile brands like, Mazda, Peugeot and Michelin.