The pilot project is being seen as a possible solution to the IT graduate unemployment problem 

Employment: To help IT graduates in the country find employment, an online freelancing programme titled “Namkhaiding Solution” was launched by the labour ministry in partnership with CodersTrust, a Danish technology company launched to 100 trainees at the Royal Institute of Management, yesterday.

The number of unemployed IT graduates is high in the country causing students to turn away from IT courses and causing some educational institutions to reduce their annual IT intake.

Over the next three months the participants will be taught how to make money online by selling their work internationally via freelance online portals such as Upwork, Elance, Fiverr and Freelancer.

The training is divided into three categories – technical module, employability and practical sessions on the two modules. Skills in web designing such as HTML 5, CSS3, BOOTSTRAP, and JQUERY, which are the building blocks to create interactive and responsive websites, will will be taught during the technical module.

Along with the technical aspect to the training, interviewing skills, negotiation, self marketing, sales, communication and business English will also be taught along with hands on practical sessions.

CodersTrust’s project manager, Giovanni Toschi, said that for freelancers who work online, the particular skills are some of the most rewarding and easiest form of skills that can be used after the training to find jobs. “However, this doesn’t mean online freelancing is only restricted to web designing,” he said. “People who can help in research, who are accountants and writers can also get jobs online.”

With over 626 IT mostly unemployed graduates in the country, labour ministry officials said that the online freelancing initiative would help IT graduates find a job. About 342 IT graduates are registered with the labour ministry’s job portal as jobseekers.

Department of Employment director general, Sherab Tenzin, said that unemployment among young graduates is on the rise. “Educated jobseekers have a condition when they look for jobs,” he said. “They don’t want a job that is physically tedious,” he added. “IT which is a skill oriented profession offers youth this option.”

Sherab Tenzin said the programme will enable jobseekers especially those with IT knowledge to earn a living depending on their skills and abilities online. “The online freelancing training will equip the youth to become an entrepreneur without having to do much physically,” he said.

Labour minister Ngeema Sangay Tshempo said that the paradoxical situation where on the one hand, the unemployment rate is rising and on the other, graduates are not interested in the government’s initiatives to curb the issue is becoming serious.

“When the jobseekers were invited for this programme, only a handful of them had turned up,” the minister said. “Similarly, TechPark which is the highest employer of our IT graduates received only 18 applicants when the requirement was for some 50 IT graduates.”

The minister said that the need to up-skill and re-skill IT graduates was crucial if the paradoxical situation was to be addressed successfully.

“Innovation is very important, everyone has to be different in a changing society, changing world and changing market dynamics,” the minister said. “One must be innovative and to do that IT graduates must enhance your skills and thereby ensuring higher learning which will in turn lead to higher earning.”

Sherab Tenzin said that if the programme proves successful, the ministry will discuss the practicality of such programmes in colleges where the number of IT takers are declining.

“We are hopeful that this programme will be successful and it will regenerate interest in the IT courses in institutes and individuals alike,” he said.

Currently, out of 342 IT graduates who have registered with the ministry 109 are BSc IT graduates, seven of them are BSc IT honours, 30 BTech IT graduates and 196 Bachelor of Computer Applications graduates.

 Younten Tshedup