Many TVET graduates not pursuing their trades 

Chhimi Dema  

The labour ministry tracer survey indicates that the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions instead of addressing the unemployment problems have only compounded the issue mainly because of irrelevant training content.

According to the survey that traced 4,815 TVET graduates between 2016-18, and 2013-15 showed that one in three graduates from the technical training institutes, including the Institute of Zorig Chusum (IZC) did not get a job in their trade.

Department of Technical Education’s Chief Programme Officer, Lham Dorji, said that the survey found 36.10 percent and 37.87 percent graduates from 2016-2018 and 2013-2015 did not get a job after their training.

One of the reasons was the mismatch between TVET demand and supply.

The report stated that the inconsistency in the ratings of the relevancy of training programmes indicated the mismatch. While more than half the cohorts reported that the training relevance as good, one out of 10 rated it as poor.

Close to 13 percent of TTIs and IZCs graduates in the two cohorts rated the relevance of the TVET programme as ‘very good’.

The tracer survey report also indicated that the wide skills mismatch could be due to the lack of practical training and workplace learning experiences.

According to the tracer survey report, 40.42 percent of graduates from 2016-2018 and 48.95 of graduates from 2013-2015 were unemployed after they left their first job.

Most of the unemployed graduates from 2016-2018 cohort said that they received a low salary while graduates from 2013-2015 responded that they lacked work skills and experiences.

The work based-training and classroom-based learning through On-Job-Training (OJT) and Apprentice Training Programmes (ATP) are viewed as opportunities to fill the gap in skills mismatch.

“Learning programmes [such OTP and ATP] are considered to provide trainees with the opportunity for individual learning and the opportunity for acquiring the applicable occupational competence and personal experiences,” the survey report stated.

From TVET graduates of 2016-2018, 1,571 graduates ‘strongly agree’ that the OJTs helped them gain work experience and 1,119 graduates ‘strongly agree’ that their skills were developed and honed.

Down-looked at the workplace, poor safety measures, no expert supervisors, and poor or inadequate tools and equipment were some problems they faced during their OJTs.

The tracer survey report recommended that, while the overall ratings of OJTs were good, there was a “need to review the OJT provisions and strengthen the framework and protocols including incentives to OJT providers, duration, places of OTJ, etc” to provide a quality experience during OJTs.

The tracer survey report mentions that only nine percent on average from both cohorts had availed the ATPs.

Samthang Technical Training Institute had most of its graduates employed (80.50 percent), followed by Serzhong Vocational Institute (78.90 percent). Graduates from training institutes that offered courses in construction and automobile were the least employed.

The tracer survey report stated that the majority of graduates were working in the manufacturing sector with 358 graduates from 2016-2018 and 253 graduates from 2013-2015.

Next to the manufacturing sector, most of the graduates from the cohort of 2016-2018 were employed in the construction sector followed by electricity, gas steam and air conditioning supply sector.

Most of the graduates from the cohort of 2013-2015 were employed in electricity, gas steam and air conditioning supply sector after the construction sector.

Recommendations 

In order to reduce the mismatch of skills, the tracer survey report recommended that “TTIs and IZCs must conduct the need-based programmes in diversified occupation rather than ritually producing graduates of the same occupations for years.”

The tracer survey report pointed out that frequent graduate or tracer survey should be conducted to determine the demand for skills in the labour market and provide courses based on the demand.

The tracer survey report highlighted that the situation of the labour market for technical and vocational workers should be prioritised. Furthermore, the report states that there should be policies to encourage employers to recruit more home-grown skilled graduates by arranging incentives and motivations for both employers and employees.

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