Not in employment, education, or training? Baldoz challenges unemployed youth to develop life skills
With graduation drawing near; with tens of thousands expected to join the labor market; and with hundreds of thousands more who are not in employment, education, or training, or NEET, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, this early, is challenging young people to develop life skills to be able to jumpstart their careers, either in wage employment or entrepreneurship.
“Let’s face it. While we see our youth as dynamic, potential innovators, and leaders in the present-day world of work, surprisingly, they still compose almost half, or 49.1 percent, of the country’s unemployed population of 2.4 million,” said Baldoz.
“Skills gap, or the mismatch between labor demand and supply, is the culprit for the high youth unemployment in the country,” she said, explaining that a considerable part of the unemployed population consists of educated workers—most probably young ones.
“Forty-four percent of our unemployed have reached or graduated from high school; 35.3 percent, on the other hand, graduated from college,” Baldoz said.
And because it’s almost graduation month, the labor and employment chief said graduates ought to realise that in the current situation, the school-to-work transition in the Philippines is long.
“It takes a long time for young Filipinos who leave their schools or universities to pursue careers in the labor market, simply because of the skills gap,” she bared, pointing out the results of the ADB household survey in Manila and Cebu showing that it takes a college graduate one year to find his first job, and up to two years to find a regular job.
The study also show that the period is even longer for a high school leaver who takes up to three years to find his first job, and four years to find a regular wage job.
“The ADB study is seminal. It cited that educational attainment, social status of family, and job search behavior are significant factors influencing the length and quality of the school-to-work transition among young Filipino jobseekers,” said Baldoz.
To speed up the school-to-work transition, Baldoz said young people should take cognisance of what employers’ articulated: entry-level employees lack life skills—and do something about it.
In particular, they need to improve their attitudes towards work and in the work place. They need to enhance their presentation and communication skills, she said.
Noting that very few youth undertake skills training during the transition from school to work, she urged those who are not in employment, education, or training to train on life skills.
“That’s the only way they can improve their prospects in the labor market,” she said.
She encouraged them to join JobStart Philippines.
“Being the first of its kind in Southeast Asia, JobStart seeks to help young people jumpstart their careers by creating opportunities to improve their technical skills and develop the life skills necessary for success in today’s competitive workplace. It introduces the full-cycle employment facilitation service, a comprehensive and systematic approach in assisting young jobseekers, from planning their career paths all the way through acquiring the best-fit jobs through career guidance, life skills and technical training, and internship,” Baldoz explained.
JobStart is funded by the Government of Canada through the Asian Development Bank. The DOLE, through the Bureau of Local Employment, executes the program, while the LGUs and the PESOs serve as implementing agencies and employers as partners.
Director Dominique Tutay of the Bureau of Local Employment said that to be able to join JobStart, a participant needs to be between 18-24 years old; at least high school graduates; no job experience or have no more than one (1) year of experience; and currently not in employment, not enrolled in school or in any training, and actively seeking work.
Once selected, an applicant will undergo the following stages: assessment of participant’s job readiness and enhanced career guidance; selection of full beneficiaries; life skills training; job matching; interview and selection by employers; training plan preparation; signing of internship contract; technical training; and internship with employers.
She said JobStart participants are provided with knowledge on conducting job searches; access to career guidance and employment coaching; access to relevant Labor Market Information (LMI) and PESO infrastructure; referral to potential employers; holistic employability through multi-faceted training; up to six months of on-the-job training with an employer; trainee stipend during the technical training and at least 75 percent of the minimum wage while with the employer as an OJT trainee; and a certificate from DOLE and ADB for completion of the program.
“One of the most exciting features of the JobStart is the life skills training, an eight-day training to develop participants’ attitudes to work and workplace environment; job hunting skills and networking; personal and interpersonal skills; and health and financial management,” Tutay said.
Baldoz said that at the end of a participant’s stint with JobStart, the DOLE envisions more young jobseekers being provided with training and exposure in an actual work place, making them ready to assume the job and more responsive to industry skills requirement.
“As an outcome of the program, and with the adoption of the new model for employment facilitation service, we expect the placement rate of jobseekers, particularly PESO clients, to be at least 80 percent,” Baldoz finally said.