Labor ministry intent on creating own skilled workforce

There are 54,821 foreign workers with work permits and at the least 20,000 day workers in Phuentsholing, Gomtu, Samtse, Samdrup Jongkhar and other border areas. With 74,000 expatriates workers there is a rupee outflow of more than Nu 7bn a year.

This was stated by the labor minister, Lyonpo Dorji Wangdi in a conference held on 3rd May during which he emphasized the importance and necessity of creating a skilled work force to drive and sustain the country’s economic growth.

He said the present situation depicts the dearth of a skilled workforce in the country, “therefore to curb the rupee outflow, creating our own skilled work force is vital”.

But in-country trainings such as technical and vocational training Institutes are left under capacity.

However, the labor minister said that in the last couple of years, the number of applicants has been increasing and around 1,200 Bhutanese youth registered for technical training this year.

Recently, 11 technical training instructors left for diploma in technical instruction to Nepal in order to upgrade their skills.

Upgrading the qualification of technical training instructors to diploma level was one of the main objectives of the labor ministry in the 10th Five Year Plan (FYP).

This was to promote quality technical and vocational training which would attract more applicants to the field.

The first batch of 11 technical training instructors was sent for diploma courses to Nepal in 2010, 13 of them in 2011.

However, the Director of Occupational Standards (DOS) under labor ministry, Sangay Dorji said that technical training institutes (TTIs) remaining under capacity was mainly because of lack of counseling and school education programs.

“The labor ministry will be reviving the counseling session and it has already been initiated in Trongsa and Bumthang,” said DOS Director.

“The labor ministry and Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) have come up with a framework whereby a student after grade X can choose either general or technical vocational education,” said the labor minister.

Now TTI graduates will also be accepted for diploma and degree courses under RUB colleges.

“RUB announced 15 seats for TTI graduates under Jigme Namgyel Polytechnic (JNP) in Dewathang,” said an official from the labor ministry.

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  1. The government should start paying unemployment allowances to the educated youth and adult; we need to take care of the educated youth, as a society we are all responsible and cannot blame youth. We see very serious problems associated with youth, words alone will not solve, we need multifaceted proposal including the unemployment allowance.

    Our Minister of MOLHR has failed as a Minister to bring any substantial contribution for the benefit of the youth in the country. We thought as the Minister for Labour and employment, he would propose some kind of innovative ways to ease the employment problems of youth. It is the responsibility of MOLHR Minister to provide gainful employment and as the country modernizes and advances, all cannot be given job but alternatively think of sustaining these educated youth through unemployment allowances. We are not inventing a great thing through introduction of this unemployment allowance, it exists in many of the nations. We can already see the unemployment problems and need to compensate them.

    Unemployed educated youth and its related problems is a serious social problem, we need to look into it positively. Just a mere proposal may no longer work, we need concrete proposal backed up by one such as unemployment allowance for the educated youth as well as those unemployed adults.

    Ap Lyonp Dorji Wangdi lacks farsightedness

    • forget about paying the unemployed youths! the employed too are getting squeezed with the rupee crunch and government’s ridiculous measures.

  2. Sunmoom, India has done something similar to your proposal. They went ahead and made a law called ‘Right to Food’. Which means that everybody has a right to eat. It sounds very righteous and well-meaning. But what happened was that farmers stopped working, labourers stopped working, and everybody lived off the government handout, which by definition had to be enough to survive. In the end, it has turned out to be very silly.

    In Bhutan our ‘unemployed’ youth have stopped working even before such a government policy. Imagine what they will NOT do once they start receiving free handouts to support their ‘unemployed’ status! They keep saying they can’t find jobs but what they mean is they can’t find jobs they are willing to do, and apparently there is a LOT they are not willing to do. 

    Most want the security of a government job that you can’t lose even if you sleep all day. And the government cannot absorb all of them. And which sensible private sector employer is going to recruit these clowns?

  3. I forgot to add, that MOLHR, if it succeeds can produce plumbers, electricians, painters, gardeners etc who by the way, make a lot of money today. Our unemployed can easily take these trainings and make a good life. What’s stopping them besides their attitude?

    • Tingting: this is not a new issue-people not taking up the available job. Put yourself in their shoes. We need to find ways to pay unemployment allowance based on the official unemployment INFORMATION issued oficially by the NSB. We can no longer find excuses not to compensate them. The mismatch job and training is an old cliche. Find practical ways to the solution, one such is the need to pay them unemployment allowance based on the information of the NSB. The Minister OF molhr is not proactive nor innovative, such a piece meal training will not take us anywhere. Find a durable solution, tell your Minister to open his eyes AND EARS AND ADVISE HIM WHAT OTHER COUNTIRES ARE DOING TO SOLVE SUCH PROBLEMS INSTEAD OF HIS BORING LECTURE AND PREACHING TO THE AUDIENCE WHO FEEL BORING TO LISTEN TO HIS OUTDATED TALK.

    • Sunmoon, it was precisely based on the emotional reaction of ‘putting yourself in their shoes’ that the Right to Food act was created. This attitude of having a ‘right to a job’ has also gone too far. there needs to be no talk of any ‘right’ because there are jobs a plenty. You just need to set sights a bit lower to a level of jobs that match your value in the job market. 

      As an employer myself, I can find one decent employable person among a hundred, not because 99 people are idiots or totally incompetent, but because 99 of them have their heads in all the wrong places. And in my view their heads have gone in the wrong places because of people like you whose logic seems to be based on an assumption of unlimited resources to dish out. Resources are limited and it is ridiculous to be handing out money to those choosing not to work. Even in developed countries whatever they give as unemployment benefits is given only after proof that you tried, and that too for a limited period. You are expected to eventually find work, whether it is your first choice or your last. 

      Basically the NSB data may be correct, but I believe that the data is inflated by a lot of people who are unemployed because they are being overly inflexible in what they are ready to do. In other countries they couldn’t afford to do that because eventually hunger will have got the better of them and forced them to do anything to eat. In Bhutan there is always asha or aku to feed you so that’s why they are able survive without working.

      So why would I want to support the government also getting into supporting these kinds of people?

  4. Frankly, we are quite disappointed with the leadership in MoLHR. Firstly, they just talk talk and talk and take credit for even things they had not done. Tell us what they have really achieved — nothing really. What they are doing can be easily done by National Statistical Bureau – just compiling figures of employment here and there – these employments would taken place any way – where is the input of MoLHR.

    • Tingting: You are unnecessarily defending just for the sake of it. There are so many graduates and engineers not able to get job, every time what we hear from molhr is (mismatch, mismatch of job). I think there is actually mismatch beginning from Ap Lyinpo Dorji Wangdi in the MOLHR. Every time defending with the mismatch is not good enough. MolHR as a sole employer of the country- what did Minister propose in the parliament. Many educated youth are without job. Lets stop defending – where is the enabling environment so that every educated Bhutanese- both youth and adult can work even if it is lower than what they can earn. When was the information published in the media that many such have not taken the jobs and what did MOLHR came up to resolve such problems. So many graduates are without jobs.

      You are comparing to developed countries, their system is different. If you hear from the friends and listen to the news with regard to the condition in the overseas, even the Chief Engineers work in the road manually when laid off- without somebody telling them to work. Not because of the attitude alone you referred to, I think its more than that- they have created an enabling environment– no matter who does what kind of work, at the end of the day, the earning capacity is almost same.
      But here in Bhutan, we are good in defending ourselves and as a result the educated youth are without job, if we see the unemployment information issued by NSB, its one of the highest in the region. Who is to be responsible for this- which ministry is responsible for the employment in the country? Is there another employing agency responsible for recruitment and employment in the private and corporate agencies? What is the core role of the MolHR?

      One day or the other, unemployment allowance has to be introduced, if MolHR cannot propose is there another body?..then what is the use of MoLHR? As rightly pointed by you, these uneducated youth will continue to bother their (asha and aku) for their survival- so in a way MolHR is not only giving a problem to educated unemployed youth- you are also indirectly giving financial pressures to their aku and asha.
      This is precisely what we are saying- the moment Minister of MolHR took over the office, we were hoping some kind of proposal from his side to share the nation’s wealth with the educated unemployed youth in the form of unemployment allowance based on the official information of the NSB, but Ministers were busy in inflating their own perks and allowances. Whether its the responsibility of the MolHR or any other agency, we need to share the resources with the unemployed educated Bhutanese to ease their problems, otherwise their akus and asha will continue to feel the financial pressures besides the problems of the unemployed youth.

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