By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
The Government should encourage local companies to provide internship opportunities in order to slash youth unemployment, two local associations told Macau Daily Times. The International Labour Organisation’s latest report says youth unemployment “remains a major challenge,” as residents between 16 and 24 are 2.6 times more likely than adults to be jobless.
“Macau doesn’t offer enough internship opportunities for the youths when compared to other advanced countries and thus they lack industry experience,” said Chong Kam Teng, the head of the Employment and Entrepreneurship Committee of the Macau New Chinese Youth Association. “Practical experience sometimes is even more valuable than a diploma,” he added.
The head of the Youth Committee of Macau Federation of Trade Unions (FAOM), Wong Kuai Leng, agreed: “We hope the Government can create some conditions to help young people get a job, such as by launching employment training.”
In fact, the committee is doing research on this issue, she said, and a proposal could be ready by mid-2011. The goal is to promote “practical” training, “focusing on job-interview skills, work attitude, computer applications and office work,” Wong explained. When completed, FAOM will ask the Government to support its proposal.
In addition, Chong says the Administration should encourage local hospitality and gaming industries to offer internship places for local students. “There are so many positions in the big corporations and it shouldn’t be something hard for them to do,” he said. It could be similar to the mainland China internship program, the New Chinese Youth Association member added.
On the other hand, both association leaders believe youngsters have unrealistic expectations. “Young people have the ambition to find an ideal job,” Wong bemoaned. Fresh entrants into the labour market “should not be picky about jobs or care too much about how much they can earn from their first jobs. To be able to gain experience is most important.”
“Many of the university graduates are unable to use what they’ve learnt – rarely find jobs that match their qualifications,” Chong confirmed. “Young people must be flexible in choosing jobs and should not be too concerned about the salary and whether it’s going to be a hard job,” he said.
“Career planning is also important and local youths should start learning about it at school,” Chong suggested.