Government Actively Addressing Youth Unemployment

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According to the latest United Nations estimates of the world’s population, in 2019, there are about 1.2 billion youth aged 15 to 24 years in the world, or 16 per cent of the global population.

Around 2065, the world’s youth population is projected to reach its peak, at just under 1.4 billion persons (13%).

In 2019, Central and Southern Asia were home to the largest number of youth (361 million), followed by Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (307 million) and sub-Saharan Africa (211 million).

In Malaysia, youths aged 15-24 make up 2.8 million of the total labour forces (18%) but they already represent 58.2 per cent of the unemployed!

Everywhere in the world, youth unemployment rates are consistently higher than adult rates.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 77 per cent of 1.3 million youth globally was in informal employment.

Ensuring that young people are gainfully employed is generally a major consideration of policy makers regardless of the stage of development of the economy.

Evidence from industrial countries suffering large youth unemployment rates show that the psychological consequences for young people include greater likelihood of feeling ashamed, rejected, lost, anxious, insecure, down and depressed, isolated and unloved.

Unemployed youths are likely to have problems with health, friendships and family life compared to those with work or studying.

Some long-term unemployed youth reported having suicidal thoughts. These sentiments are sometimes referred to as the ‘scarring effects’ of youth joblessness.

Relatively large numbers or increasing amount of unemployment among youth could have particularly negative economic implications.

To address youth unemployment issues, Malaysian Government has set up centres with agencies such as JobsMalaysia, Social Security Organisation (Sosco), Pembangunan Sumber Malaysia Bhd and the Bumiputera Development Agenda Unit (TERAJU).

The government also implementing the Graduates@Work which was announced in the 2020 federal budget.

This initiative specifically for hiring unemployed graduates who have been out of work for a year. Graduates who secure work will receive a wage incentive of RM500 per month, for a duration of two years, while employers receive a hiring incentive up to RM300 per month for each new hire, for two years.

Government also introduce Apprentice@Work. This is a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) incentive programme, aimed at encouraging more youth to enter TVET courses, in the form of additional RM100 per month on existing allowance for trainees on apprenticeships.

Other measures include the Graduate Enhancement Programme for Employability (Generate) scheme which benefited 4,000 schools’ leavers and graduates as well as organising and widening the scope of industry training and apprenticeships.

The government also implementing the Structured Internship Programme which is spearheaded by TalentCorp and the Education Ministry.

76,000 university students and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) students had benefited from the scheme.

Besides that, the government also has a Dual Training System Programme (SLDN), which is aimed at addressing the shortfall in skills required by industries. Under the scheme, 70% of the training involves practical training in companies, and the rest of the training is theoretical in nature.

The higher unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year-olds was due those in the age bracket being in a transition period, in which they are moving away from their studies to the workplace.

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