Amongst many sectors in the country, a majority of Bhutanese youth has opted to engage themselves in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.
This has been underlined in the data from the ministry of industry, commerce and employment (MoICE).According to the department of employment and entrepreneurship (DoEE), MoICE, most of the youth are engaged through a program called Youth Engagement and Livelihood Program (YELP) where youth are being engaged and supported by the ministry.
The 2021-2022 annual report of DoEE states that from 1,090 youth engaged in YELP for the fiscal year (FY) 2021-2022, most have opted to engage in wholesale and motor repair sectors with 223 youths, followed by information and communication sector with 177 youths, 131 youths in manufacturing sectors and accommodation and food service sector with 110 youths, amongst others.
Most of the youth registered in the YELP program arethose that have completed class XII with the highest number of 390, followed by 306university graduates and 190 who completed class X. Others include diploma holders and those tat have not competed classes X and XII, amongst others.
Meanwhile, the ministry has successfully achieved its initial target of engaging and supporting the livelihoods of more than 6,000 youth in the country. Most of the youth are engaged in the service sectors and have been given opportunities to enhance their skills and develop work experience.
According to the ministry, in order to keep the mandate of providing gainful employment, the ministry developed many strategies and programs to engage youth meaningfully. In the course of implementing the programs, emphasis has been on engaging youth to encourage them to be productive instead of doling out unemployment benefits that tend to promote idleness and discourage working.
YELP is one of the key support programs of the department to enhance the employability of job-seekers in transition from different schools and institutions. “YELP has been designed to benefit both employers and job-seekers,” the department has stated.
Meanwhile, the ministry provides a monthly allowance of Nu 5,000 to jobseekers engaged with different employers. The support duration ranges from 3 to 12 months where YELP provides wage subsidy support for the engagement of jobseekers in non-civil service agencies.
Through such interventions, the ministry aims to create an avenue for jobseekers to gain on-the-job skills and work experience required to enhance their employability while also supporting their livelihood.
The YELP program was reviewed in July 2020 and a second revision was made on July 2021 to accommodate COVID-19 affected individuals and laid off employees from affected sectors. In order to support those affected by the pandemic, the age bracket and qualification ceilings were also waived off.
The royal government also recognized the need to prioritize sectors of engagement such as agriculture and construction for better use of limited resources and impacts, leading to the establishment of YELP.
Sherab Dorji from Thimphu