If the report on ‘addressing the youth unemployment challenge in Bhutan through a systemic portfolio based approach’, is any indication, there is a solution to the ever-increasing issue of unemployment facing the Bhutanese youth. The report, launched today, presents a set of interventions to address youth unemployment in the country. As per the Labour Force Survey Report 2020, the country’s youth unemployment rate is 22.6 per cent.
Soft skills development, fostering a vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystem and promoting private sector growth are some of the interventions the report highlights.
These interventions are expected to close the gaps within the employment system including mismatch of skills, lack of economic diversity and social norms, the stigma around blue-collar jobs, and high preference for civil service jobs.
“While the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources is tasked to create enabling conditions to smooth out the labour market complexities, it is understood that a holistic approach is required to address these complexities. The report on “Addressing the Youth Unemployment Challenge in Bhutan through a Systemic Portfolio-Based Approach” comes at the right time which will help devise innovative strategies to overcome the challenges of the labour market,” said Labour Minister, karma Dorji.
According to the UNDP Resident Representative, the implementation of these interventions would help create conditions for young people to have dignity and choice, and realise a purpose aligned with the country’s aspirations and values defined by Gross National Happiness.
“Some of the long-term interventions identified to date include promoting innovation labs, mission-oriented innovation policies, and experimentation culture. Such interventions are critical for creating ‘enabling environments to harness the potential of our young people. The short-term interventions include career counselling and mentorship programs, future skills study, and digital engagement platforms. They are essential for tackling the root causes of fixed mindsets on public sector jobs and the view of the ‘state as the provider’ of services and solutions,” said Azusa Kubota, UNDP Resident Representative.
The report developed by the labour ministry and UNDP Bhutan in collaboration with other relevant agencies recommends forming a task force comprising representatives from different government agencies to collectively own and lead the development of the interventions.
Pema Seldon Tshering
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