Yangchen C Rinzin

The Technical Intern Training Programme (TITP) expected to send Bhutanese youth to Japan for technical training internships in Japan is yet to take off after it was launched in August.

Labour and human resource minister Ugyen Dorji said this is because the ministry is being extremely careful about the programme before its implementation to avoid any issues, as this involves sending the youth to Japan.

“We want to ensure it is well organised and well structured. We want to be extremely cautious before implementing it,” Lyonpo said. “We’re definitely in touch with the counterpart and looking into from the legal perspective.”

TITP will allow Bhutanese youth to pursue a three-year internship with Japanese employers to gain skills and acknowledge augmenting their employability. The youth are expected to master the skills by the fourth and fifth year.

The programme is the outcome of the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the ministry and the government of Japan in 2018 to engage youth as technical intern trainees in Japan.

The programme comes after the seven-member delegation led by labour minister visited Japan from April 16 to 27 this year to gain a clear picture of the situation of students placed in Japan through LEP. During the visit, opportunities under TITP for Bhutanese were explored upon the recommendation of the Japanese authorities.

However, unlike Learn and Earn programme, the ministry would directly implement TITP without involving agents or private partners.

Lyonpo said the Memorandum of Agreement is almost ready and currently being reviewed or discussed to see what is the legally correct way to complete the MoU before signing.

“We’re almost ready and once the MoU is signed the programme will immediately roll out. There are lots of other procedures we need to look into including Expression of Interest.”

Lyonpo said it is still not sure when the ministry can send the youth to Japan through TITP but it may not send youth on a large scale like Learn and Earn programme did.

Under TITP, the employing agencies in Japan will pay stipend to youth based on prevailing rates for internships, facilitate the accommodation and logistics during the internship. The youth are expected to return home to join the labour market in the similar sectors of their engagement and bring back critical skills in filling the job vacancies through TITP.

Youth could also choose to continue to work in Japan if they get visa. In the first batch, the ministry plans to send about 25 youth.

Depending on the Japanese requirement, the youth would be trained in different vocational and general fields, given crash course and would be certified before leaving for an internship.

However, the youth should have a certain set of skills for TITP once selected and also learn the Japanese language on their own expense.