…to help jobseekers take up internship programmes in the dzongkhag

Employment:  A jobseekers’ hostel in Samdrupjongkhar, expected to help jobseekers take up internship programmes in the dzongkhag, was inaugurated on April 9.

Built on an area of 18,000 sq ft, the hostel will accommodate about 40 jobseekers. The hostel was constructed by students of Sershong Technical Training Institute in Gelephu as a part of their on-the-job training programme.

Each room with attached kitchen, two toilets and a bathroom accommodates six jobseekers.

Regional labour officials are yet to decide the rent, which they said would not be more than Nu 500 a month based on electricity, water and land lease expenditure. The land lease rental is Nu 55,000 a year. The hostel rent would be used for maintenance and sustainability.

Officials said that potential jobseekers don’t come forward for internship programmes given the housing crunch and soaring rent in Samdrupjongkhar.

Records with the regional labour office show about 200 registered jobseekers, but not many come forward to attend internship programmes given the housing issues. Jobseekers are either dependent on their relatives or have to rent an apartment to live in Samdrupjongkhar.

Regional director Sonam Bumtap said the hostel is not only meant for jobseekers in Samdrupjongkhar, but would also cater to jobseekers from eastern Bhutan.

“Samdrupjongkhar is a place for many jobseekers in the east with many job opportunities,” he said.

The hostel would be provided to those who don’t have dependents and can’t afford the high rents in the town. Occupants will vacate the apartment once they complete their internship programmes to accommodate the next interns.

The hostel would also cater to youth in search of employment having completed internship programmes and employed youth, but are yet to find accommodation in town.

“We’ll make sure they are genuine jobseekers so that they don’t misuse the facility,” Sonam Bumthap said. “We would probably allow them to stay at the hostel for only a year.”

Labour ministry’s internship programme ranges from three to six months and interns are paid a stipend of Nu 3,750 a month. Most jobseekers, officials said are from far-flung gewogs in Samdrupjongkhar and Pemagatshel.

Ugyen Tshomo, an intern with a private company, was happy to learn that she could rent a room at the hostel at a cheaper rent.

She shifted to the hostel immediately upon its inauguration.

Ugyen Tshomo from Pemgatshel was dependent on her relatives so far as renting a house was not possible. “The hostel rent being cheap, such facility has really benefitted me,” she said.

Another jobseeker Ugyen Choden said the high house rent discouraged people like her from taking up internship programmes. “Internship programmes are important when looking for jobs. We hope the hostel will be beneficial as expected.”

However, except for the two of them, none have applied for rooms in the hostel, which labour officials attributed to lack of awareness among jobseekers.

The hostel is funded by the economic stimulus plan at a cost of Nu 6.5 million. It was inaugurated by the Samdrupjongkhar Lam Neten.

By Yangchen C Rinzin, Samdrupjongkhar