Labour ministry not happy with the low youth turnout for Guaranteed Employment Program

The officials from Ministry of La-bour and Human Resources say that the youth, “desperate” for jobs, who were registered under the Guaranteed Employment Program (GEP) are not serious about the program and are wasting the time and resources of both employers and job seekers.

The ministry added that the youth after being shortlisted for a particular post under GEP do not turn up for scheduled interviews. This is a possible indication that the youth are not really serious about employment opportunities.

The ministry is also in the process of decentralizing the programs to the regional offices so it can avoid the need for all partners, both employers and applicants, to gather in Thimphu.

The GEP is an overall employment promotion strategy of the ministry to deal with the employment challenges in the country ensuring that the youth are productively engaged. Among other issues facing the GEP is the skills mismatch and work experience demanded by the employers.

Under GEP, three schemes planned are Direct Employment Scheme, Overseas Employment Scheme and Employment Skills Scheme.

As per the officials from the minis-try, with the launch of GEP program, a total of 226 job seekers have been placed as of July 23 this year. The 23 companies have signed the agreement with the ministry to ensure the GEP to be successful.

The ministry has set targets of about 1,247 youth under the Direct Employment Scheme, 725 under the Overseas Employment Scheme and 470 under the Employment Skills Scheme to be placed in a year.

As of July 23 this year, the ministry received 3,402 applicants for various vacancies under the GEP program. Of which the qualifications of applicants ranges from the tenth grade to the doctorate level.

In the recent registered jobseekers applicants list, there is one applicant with a PhD, 19 applicants have masters, 1,167 are general graduates, 486 are technical graduates, while there are 1,348 applicants who are twelfth graders and 367 with tenth grade cer-tificates.

The criteria for short listing in GEP are the subject relevancy of the registered job seekers against post and upon duration of un-employment. The chronic registered jobseekers that have not been able to find jobs for more than six months were given the first preference.

Under GEP, the youth are at-tached for one year in desk jobs and for the manual or field bound work, the attachment is for two years with a monthly allowances set up by the gov-ernment on cost sharing basis with the employers. After completion of the du-ration of attachment, the employers or partner agencies have to retain them permanently for next three years.

Apart from GEP, the ministry also implements the pre-employment engagement program, apprenticeship training program, university gradu¬ate internship program and entrepreneurship development program simultaneously to address the unemployment issue.

To look into skills mismatch, the ministry is preparing a TVET reform program to draw up a TVET roadmap soon. The HRD (Human Resource Development) Advisory also advises the HRD agencies in the country on the skills needed in the current labour market and regulate HRD programs to suit the labour market needs.

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