…𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒆𝒗𝒐𝒍𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒃𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒕𝒔 𝒎𝒐𝒅𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝒆𝒙𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒏𝒄𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒃𝒆 𝒓𝒉𝒆𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒍 𝒃𝒖𝒕 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒔𝒐𝒏𝒂𝒍 𝒔𝒌𝒊𝒍𝒍𝒔, 𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒌𝒏𝒐𝒘𝒍𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂𝒑𝒕𝒊𝒕𝒖𝒅𝒆
A graduate recently mentioned, “Job experience is one of the key requirements for all vacant positions. When I eventually decided to look for an employment after 16 years of academic studies, they required experience”.
Youths are looking for internships because they are aware of the value of experience. “The majorities of employers reject internship applications because they believe that interns are liabilities and simply want us to be an asset for their business. How can we acquire experience if they don’t give us a chance?” asked a young job seeker.
The Ministry of Industry Commerce and Employment (MoICE) already has such internships and engagement programs in place. The Youth Engagement and Livelihood Program (YELP) program was designed to benefit both employers and job seekers. A monthly allowance of Nu. 5,000 is provided to job seekers engaged with different employers. The support duration ranges from 3-12 months. YELP provides wage subsidy support for the engagement of job seekers in the non-civil service sectors and to gain on-the-job skills and work experience required to enhance their employability to support their livelihoods. Under the same scheme, internship opportunities are also made available to youths to work in the government agencies, State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and corporations for duration of 3 months.
Till December 2022, there are 4164 paid internship through YELP, 1576 males and 2588 females.
The Employment Service Centre (ESC) operated by the Ministry provides services to facilitate employers and job seekers in the labour market system. The ESC includes helping job seekers find the right jobs as per their skills, apply for jobs, aggregate job vacancies from employers on the Ministry of Industry Commerce and Employment job portal, and help employers to find the right candidates. The Centre is located at the Department of Youth and Sports in Thimphu. The services in other parts of the country are provided by MoICE regional offices in Phuentsholing, Gelephu, Samdrup Jongkhar and Trashigang.
Karma Dorji, Minister, MoICE said, “Internships can immensely help job seekers to build experience required to follow certain career paths. MoICE offers internship opportunities for job seekers to work with government agencies, SOEs and corporations. The internship period is for 3 months while the YELP period is for a year which is extendable based on the need presented by the agency which will be granted on case-by-case basis. We must first differentiate between the paid and unpaid internships. We encourage unpaid internships so that job seekers can learn the skills in certain organizations without having to follow any work schedules or pressure from the organizations/companies offering them internships. Paid internships are prone to having strict work programs and schedules thus depriving them of freedom to the job seekers to learn the skills on their own pace. However, the Government is providing Nu. 5,000 per month stipend under the YELP program as support to both employers and employees”.
The stipend provided to the job seekers under YELP program is already budgeted and reflected in the annual plans of the Ministry.
Government does not have a say on employers requiring job experience in job seekers. While getting into civil servants do not have such requirement, it is mostly the corporate and private sectors that demand experience from the job seekers, said the Minister.
The Minister also added, “They would benefit from doing an internship in a suitable field. In contrast to the past, interviewers now focus more on a candidate’s competency level than on experience. Everyone needs to learn new things because of evolution. Having five to six years of experience fixing an old car won’t help; instead, one needs to improve their expertise while implementing the most recent treatment modalities. Having skills is much better than having experience “.
The MoICE is aware of internship recruitment trend and is making concerted efforts to facilitate the labour market. The Ministry has come up with pre-employment programs like YELP and internships. The Ministry is implementing various programs to skill and up skill the unemployed Bhutanese people to create the enabling conditions and opportunities for the productive and gainful employment of Bhutanese. With engagement programs such as YELP in place, it is a win-win situation for both employing agencies and the job seekers.