Middle East

Improving youth skills for future-oriented growth

Times Kuwait Report

Youth are a dynamic cohort, a positive force to lead social and political change, and are considered an important asset in a country’s economic development. Countries with a larger working-age population than non-working countries may realize what economists call the “demographic bonus”. This is a period of national history characterized by accelerated economic growth and prosperity.

However, this dividend is not given and may be a liability in the future. Without proper policies, an increase in the working-age population can lead to higher unemployment and can fuel economic, political and social risks. In order to obtain the projected demographic dividend, countries have the opportunity to make the necessary investments in youth health and education, provide appropriate tools to improve their abilities, and engage in productive employment and entrepreneurship. Must be provided.

Adolescents, defined as healthy, educated and fully engaged young people aged 15 to 24, are not only more resilient in the face of personal and social challenges, but also suffer from intergenerational poverty. It can prove to be important in overcoming and bringing about an economy. Prosperity to the country. Despite the importance of this cohort of population, too many young people in too many places still tackle poverty, inequality, discrimination, infringement, they fulfill their aspirations and their potential. It prevents you from acquiring the skills you need to reach your full potential.

In Kuwait, where young people make up about 17% of Kuwait’s population, governments are often keen to promote youth health and education and promise to provide them with productive opportunities. However, it is not shown very often. engagement. Just last week, ahead of this year’s United Nations World Youth Skills Day on July 15, the government reiterated this commitment to nurture young people and ensure their well-being.

In a statement last Thursday, Aseel Al-Mazyed, an official spokesman for the Human Resources Corporation (PAM), was between the ages of 15 and 18 as part of the government’s “Towards a Safe Childhood” campaign. The employer who employs young people in Japan said: You are obliged to comply with some conditions of youth protection. This includes not being employed in industries or occupations that are dangerous and harmful to their health and well-being.

She said that other provisions imposed on such businesses should not allow the boy’s working hours to exceed 6 hours a day and give him an hour break after four hours of continuous work. He added that hiring boys for work is forbidden. Work on holidays, holidays, or from 7 pm to 6 am. She urged companies to comply with these provisions aimed at protecting young workers so that they would not be subject to legal accountability.

Also in late May, Kuwait’s Secretary-General of the Supreme Family Affairs Council, Khaled bin Shalfoot, emphasized Kuwait’s enthusiasm for enabling and empowering young people. He was sponsored by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for West Asia (ESCWA) and was held at the 1st Arab Equality Forum 2022 (AFE-2022) under the theme of “Toward the Employment of Inclusive Youth in Arabs”. I gave a lecture as a bystander. region’.

In a keynote speech to the forum, former Kuwaitian and current ESCWA Executive Secretary Laura Dashti said the Arab world is one of the most unequaled regions in the world. She points out that there are social segments that are deprived of appropriate opportunities, such as women, youth, persons with disabilities and displaced people. % Unemployment is one of the highest in the world. “

The United Nations estimates that meeting youth employment needs will require the creation of more than 600 million new jobs worldwide over the next 15 years. In Kuwait, where young people under the age of 15 and children make up almost half of Kuwait’s 1.5 million population, there is an ever-increasing need to prioritize the creation of new jobs.

According to data obtained by the Central Statistics Office, about 17% of Kuwait’s population in 2021 was young people between the ages of 15 and 24, with an additional 30% of Kuwait’s children under the age of 15. Finding new jobs to absorb 250,000 young people ready to enter the workforce pool in the next few years, and an additional 500,000 in the next 10 years to accommodate people now under the age of 15. Creating a job can be proven to be a daunting task for the government.

Authorities are not only concerned about creating innovative and acceptable initiatives to create new jobs and absorb young people who enter the workforce pool each year. They also need to find innovative ways to equip these young people, whether as employees or entrepreneurs, with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the workplace. In this regard, in April 2017, the Ministry of Youth Affairs (MoSYA), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), launched an initiative to promote and support the empowerment of young men and women in Kuwait. did.

It is undeniable that this initiative has led the ministry to achieve some improvements in its activities, as well as its interaction with young people and their development. However, like most other high-profile efforts initiated in the country, it implements many of the project’s recommendations for improving youth skills, or providing skills-up tools and access to productive employment opportunities. There were few attempts. ..

Kuwait’s youth unemployment rate was close to the regional average of 26% in 2021, according to estimates from the World Bank and other statistical reviews. It was much higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.7 percent of the total working age population. On the other hand, the youth employment rate, which represents the proportion of young people in the labor force in 2021, was only about 19%. Not important, but still much lower than 68% in Qatar, 43% in the United Arab Emirates, or 37% in Bahrain.

One of the reasons for the low youth employment rate in Kuwait is the government’s employment policy, which has been in place since the country’s independence in 1961. By accumulating in the financial resources of the welfare state states that have emerged against the backdrop of newly discovered oil wealth and huge surplus income, the government will provide citizens of all working ages in the country with safe and profitable jobs in the public sector. Introduced a guaranteed employment policy.

However, the government’s influence over employment options limited to state-owned enterprises has made it increasingly difficult for many years to continue to guarantee employment for all nationals. Nevertheless, forced by political and social necessities to continue the policy, authorities have relied on creating extra vacancies in public sector companies each year to match the number of job seekers. rice field.
This unsupportable and flawed employment policy that the government is the first and last choice employer for most people results in a biased fragmented labor market, distorted labor allocation and is in sync with market demand. Has created no educational process. It also brought about a bloated public sector and a engorged public wage bill that today accounts for more than 70 percent of the government’s annual budget spending.

Recognizing that the continuation of flawed employment policies that are neither practical nor sustainable has dawned on policy makers in the last few years. However, repeated attempts by the government to amend this policy and introduce more practical measures have been voiced and violently opposed by parliamentarians. Not only are prevailing policies unsustainable, they also do not help create new employment opportunities and initiatives aimed at absorbing young people entering the workforce pool each year.

However, most young people who then enter the labor market each year prefer to sit down and wait for an appointment in the public sector rather than seeking employment in the private sector or engaging in entrepreneurship. In mid-June, Dr. Michelle Al-Rabbie, director of the Youth Public Institution, said that young people seeking employment in the public sector need work experience in the private sector in order for youth to participate in the private sector. I issued a command. sector.

As a bystander to a meeting hosted by the authorities in collaboration with other government agencies, regional bank representatives, chambers of commerce and the World Bank, Al Rabbie said: In the private sector, which is higher than that offered by government agencies. It is not yet known how successful this policy will be. The private sector demands higher salaries than foreign workers and is reluctant to hire less productive people.

Meanwhile, Kuwait can attempt to implement the theme of this year’s United Nations World Youth Skills Day, “Learning and Skills for Life, Work and Sustainable Development.” Industry experts say the Youth Skills Up Initiative for Youth includes developing a quality education infrastructure, conducting targeted vocational training programs in line with market demand, and digital training essential for youth learning. He points out that the focus should be on providing access to online skill-up courses. promotion.

To facilitate skill-up initiatives, governments can seek help from global vendors of technology solutions that provide software to local students and educators. These training software leverages digital platforms to help young people develop their skills in the future, address the barrage of advanced technologies and workflows that are accelerating changes in existing industries and careers, and new careers. I will be able to introduce opportunities.

Critics of the government’s flawed employment policy believe and hope that the luxury welfare state, which provides citizens with cradle-to-grave care, will continue to provide safe and quiet jobs. A job that has long warned that it has led to a qualification spirit. They seem unaware of the fact that such work may no longer be available, and that the day of calculation is approaching.

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https://timeskuwait.com/news/upskilling-youth-to-future-proof-growth/ Improving youth skills for future-oriented growth

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