People seeking a job encouraged to take work opportunities available | 09 July 2020
People who are out of a job either as a result of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, school leavers or others are being encouraged to seize the limited work opportunities offered to them.
Letimie Dookley, director general of employment programme in the department of employment, said as work opportunities become more limited it is becoming more difficult to get a placement for the increasing number of job seekers.
“Our message to everyone seeking to be assisted with a job is to please note that job opportunities are now very limited compared to last year when there were lots of jobs but few job seekers, but which is no longer the case. There are suddenly many job seekers but few job opportunities. Therefore, it is important that you do not refuse a job opportunity even though it is not one that you were dreaming of doing,” said Mrs Dookley.
She added that “considering the present difficult economic situation, it is not the time to be choosy. If you want a job please seize the opportunity offered to you.”
Mrs Dookley said they are facing a lot of difficulty to change people’s attitude, manage their expectations and do a lot of counseling to convince and guide them towards job opportunities that are available and not what they want.
Meeting with the press yesterday morning at Independence House Annex, Mrs Dookley also gave details of the different employment programmes in place to help people through training, placement in different organisations so that eventually they can secure a permanent job.
Ms Dookley also clarified the difference between the newly created Seychelles Employee Transition Scheme (Sets) whose mandate is to support those made redundant following the economic impacts of COVID-19. The main objective of the scheme is to ease retraining, up-skilling, and temporary work placement services, supporting re-entry into the labour market as job openings become available whilst providing financial support.
Mrs Dookley also explained the working relationship and collaboration of the employment department and the Agency for Social Protection (ASP).
The Skills Development Programme targets young people who have not completed secondary, did not secure a place at any professional centres or did not complete a training course and who are aged between 15 and 30 years.
“Young people under this programme do not have any skills and are placed in different workplaces where they receive on-the-job training based on their interest and work opportunities available for them to receive training. The training is for a period of between six and 18 months but all depends on the nature and technicality of the job,” Mrs Dookley explained.
Following a recent review, the allowances they were receiving have increased as of July 1 as follows:
Participants with children receive R5,000
Participants aged 15 to 20 receive R3,500
Participants aged 21 to 30 receive R4,500
Under this programme government pays 70% of the allowances and the employers 30%, but given the COVID-19 situation the government is covering the entire allowances of the participants until December.
For the period April to June, Ms Dookley stated that 45 young people registered to join the programme but placement has been secured for only 14 of them, while around 30 are still waiting for placements and one has already secured permanent employment.
Furthermore, Mrs Dookley highlighted that for this year up to now, the employment department has noted a remarkable decrease in the number of placements that it can secure for the participants as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in many hotels closing down and leaving many young people under the programme who had expressed the desire to follow training at hotel establishments uncertain. Mrs Dookley said several of them require counseling and a lot of convincing to redirect their interest towards employment opportunities that are available.
My First Job Scheme caters forprofessional centre graduates byfacilitating their entry on the labour market and the government through the ASP provides a 40% refund of the graduates’ salaries capped at R7,000 for a year. The participants are placed in employment and become normal employees.
Under the scheme there are two sub-programmes ad these are:
- Internship for graduates from professional centres who are facing difficulties to secure employment are enrolled on an internship programme for a period of six months (renewable). They receive R5,800 as allowance.
- Internship programme for university graduates who are facing difficulties to secure permanent employment will be enrolled on the programme for a period of six months (renewable) and their allowance is R8,550.
Mrs Dookley is calling on all returning graduates as well as those from the University of Seychelles to register under these programmes.
From the beginning of the year to date, Mrs Dookley said they have registered 28 graduates from whom 13 have already secured job placements, one has secured permanent employment while 15 are still waiting for a placement.
As for those young people from professional centres, Mrs Dookley said 66 have registered and 17 of them have already secured a job placement.
Unemployment Relief Scheme (URS) reintroduced in November 2017: people registered either with the welfare officer at their district administration office or at the URS unit at the employment department are vetted by the ASP and the employment department. Genuine cases receive an allowance of R5,800 while waiting for work placement.
Mrs Dookley explained that the scheme brought some relief to a lot of people who were dependent on welfare assistance. Gradually, through the scheme many of them took a job after much counseling and guidance.
For April and June this year, Mrs Dookley said there were 2,752 job seekers, many of them have lost their jobs under the current situation. Compared to the same period last year, only 321 individuals had registered under the programme.
She noted that from the 2,752 there are 290 who have already been placed in permanent employment while 215 are still waiting for a job opportunity.
Participants with minimum qualifications and experience receive R7,056 while those with qualifications and experience receive R8,550.
All participants under the three programmes receive an SPTC card worth R300 to help ease their movement.
Mrs Dookley has meanwhile explained that there is a direct link between the employment department and the ASP and how the two work closely together to better help people in need of financial assistance as well as a job.
She noted that any person who is assisted in any way under any of these schemes there are certain conditions attached and among them if a person refuses any job or job placement or internship, the ASP is informed and if the person goes back to ASP for financial assistance he or she will not necessarily be assisted.
Mrs Dookley also clarified the difference between the newly introduced Seychelles Employee Transition Scheme (Sets) which aims to take care of people who have been made redundant from their jobs as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19.
She stressed that the employment programmes do not entertain redundancy cases.
“Once an employer has followed the redundancy process, the details of his or her employees are then approved by the employment department before these are submitted to Sets which liaises with the employer concerned. It is important for people not to confuse the different schemes,” Mrs Dookley stated.