KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Oct: The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) Budget 2014 will allocate RM50 million to implement youth employment measures in phases with the objective of reducing the youth unemployment rate to around the national unemployment rate of 3 percent.
The budget aims to enhance the employability and marketability of youth in the 15-29 age bracket in order to reduce the mismatch of knowledge, skills and competence, in addition to helping them make better-informed decisions about their future.
These efforts involve the organising of career guidance programmes for youth at schools, vocational training institutes, and higher learning institutions in collaboration with future employers and education providers.
For public and private sector employers, all employers are encouraged to provide practical or industrial training or internship programmes such as “Student Adoption Programmes” as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agenda to enable the youth to gain experience and exposure to the working world.
In addition, national-level job fairs should be organised on a regular basis as a platform for youth of all education backgrounds and levels to look for job opportunities and “job centres” should be set up at each district to facilitate job placements in the long run.
PR also proposes organising entrepreneurial workshops specifically tailored to develop young entrepreneurs as well as to establish closer cooperation with specialised financial institutions such as SME Bank to give out micro-credit as seed capital for youth to start a viable business venture.
Tax and non-tax incentives should be offered to SMEs/micro-enterprises, medium-sized companies or big corporations to encourage youth employment and enhance greater participation of the youth in the workforce such as double tax deduction for companies that hire the local youth and train them to reduce over-reliance on foreign workers.
Emphasis on technical skills and the right attitude to land a job should be done so that education providers are not too focused on paper qualifications but spend more effort in preparing students to face the reality of what the job market is looking for.