Yangyel Lhaden

The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Employment (MoICE) has drawn strategies to enhance employment opportunities mainly for skilled graduates in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and Nursing, its minister said.

Khatoed-Laya MP Tenzin asked the minister what the ministry was doing to create jobs. He said that the post-covid impact on the economy and international issues like the Ukraine-Russia war have affected employment in our country. “What strategies is the ministry working on to create jobs within the country and abroad?”

The overall unemployment rate in Bhutan for 2022 is estimated at 5.9 percent, representing a 1.1 percent increase compared to the 4.8 percent rate in 2021, as reported in the Labour Force Survey 2022. Additionally, the youth unemployment rate for 2022 stands at 28.6 percent, marking a 7.7 point increase from the 20.9 percent rate recorded in 2021.

According to the report, the trend of the youth unemployment rate has fluctuated over the period of six years with the highest rate observed in 2022 and the lowest in 2019 at 11.9 percent.

The strategies include collaborating for overseas job placements, inviting expatriate TVET professionals, organising TVET competitions, and launching a nursing course with six years of guaranteed employment in 2022 in partnership with Singapore.

Lyonpo Karma Dorji said that to enhance employment in the skilled sector it was important to improve the infrastructures of TVET and the quality of education to enhance their skills.

The ministry with USD 20 million from an international bank is improving TVET institute’s infrastructure and resources.

“We are collaborating with Humber College in Canada and received USD 4 million from Humber College,” Lyonpo Karma Dorji said. “For capacity and skills development various experts from countries such as Korea, Japan, Germany, and Thailand were invited to teach in TVET institutes.”

He said that the ministry has started education loans for the TVET sector for those interested in studying abroad. “We have also increased salary of TVET graduates working abroad from Nu 30,000 to Nu 40,000 starting this year.”

To enhance employment opportunities for plumbers and electricians, the ministry has refrained from outsourcing these jobs to foreign workers. “Our TVET graduates have the skills necessary to undertake these jobs entirely,” Lyonpo said.

Six-year employment working programme for nurses after completing their studies in Singapore ensures that they receive payment in terms of their currency, which started last year,” Lyonpo said.

This year, the ministry has also signed a contract with the NHS Foundation Trust in the United Kingdom to send Bhutanese nurses to work in the UK.

“To enhance employment in the country, the ministry has initiated several programmes such as

Youth Engagement and Livelihood Programme, Gowa and Build Bhutan Project,” Lyonpo said.