Today pursuing higher education beyond Bachelor’s Degree has become a trend as Thai youth believe education is the ticket to a secure future. Contradicting this trend is the youth’s rising unemployment rate, indicating that their education does not match with demands of the labour market. For underprivileged children or vulnerable youth whose education opportunity is already limited, the chance of finding employment is even more restricted. With this, they are at risk of becoming jobless, unskilled workers who may walk down the wrong path in life, becoming thieves, drug addicts or implicated in illegitimate businesses just for sake of ‘making a living’.
Citi Foundation has teamed up with World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) in launching the ‘Empowering Marginalised Youth of Bangkok for Productive Citizenship Programme’ to equip vulnerable youngsters with the skills to enter the workforce. The project piloted with a group of 100 youths from Bangkok’s Jatujak and Huay Kwang districts, with an orientation was held at the WVFT Training Centre on 9 February 2017. The event was graced by Ms Hassaya Hasitabhan, Citibank N.A.’s Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Head of Corporate Citizenship and Ms Meliza Aberin, World Vision Foundation of Thailand’s (WVFT) Operations Director.
It will take some 7 months from today to prepare the youngsters to find their dream career. “Through Youth Ready Work Programme, youths will receive life skills training, learn to recognise their values and proficiencies and identify the work of their interest. They will also get to practise the processes essential for getting employed, such as analytical and creative thinking, communications, teamwork, basic management skills both in finance and life balance. Afterwards they can pursue their chosen profession. The programme also supports entrepreneurs to access funding sources. The programme has partner companies and institutions that are ready to train youths as well as offer employment opportunities,” explained Rattanathida Prawang, WVFT’s Life Skills Specialist.
During orientation, a number of institutions offer employment counselling, enabling youths to see the diverse range of work demanded by the labour market. All institutions will provide teaching, training and employment opportunities for every keen youth who has commitment, comprising:
1. Jatujak Vocational Training Centre offers trainings in nail painting, quilting, making herbal soap and cosmetics and cooking
2. Sangthong Technology School specialises in electricians, electronic technicians, auto mechanics trainings
3. Rabbit Bike offers trainings as big bike mechanics
4. True Partner has trainings for electronics and Internet installation
5. CP Plus specialises in CCTV installation
6. LDC Dental offers trainings in dentist assistant
7. Nipada Beauty School trains make-up artists and beauticians
“Children’s goal today is where to study, not why they study or what profession they want to pursue. This project will give these vulnerable youths employment opportunity, improve their quality of life and prevent them from straying into thefts and drug addiction. Children can discover what they want to be since these schools are prepared to provide trainings, giving them the practical skills to work and earn a living,” said Mr Nopporn Insawarng, Manager of Sangthong Technology School, sharing his advice to the young people.
On behalf of Citibank, Ms Hassaya gave additional encouragement to the participants. “All of you have a good opportunity to learn. The knowledge and various skills offered by the programme will gear you towards a secure and sustainable career. May all of you find success and a job that will lead you to a better future. Thank you WVFT and every participating company for your support. Performing this good deed is a way to pay back to the nation in accordance with the royal initiative of developing the country sustainably.”
“The many counsellings have made me think about choosing the right career and path in life. The institutions also equip us with knowledge, job skills and employment. This should help us secure a job or expand into entrepreneurship in the future. I’m interested mechanic work especially for CCTV and audio equipment. Repairing big bikes is also interesting,” said 22 year-old Montien, a student from Non-Formal Education Centre in Wang Thong Lang district about his dream career, which the programme will turn into a reality.
A representative of the vulnerable youth group, Thisa (Bell) spoke of her career plan. She said, “I’m studying in grade 11. My teacher once asked me how I plan to use my Chinese language skills to earn a living. What I will do if I don’t get to continue my education. I thought about it and made a career plan. I want to cook and make sweets and cakes because everyone must eat. If all turns out well, I turn this into my career. I’m glad this programme will give me the groundwork.”
At the end of the programme’s first year, the vulnerable youth’s abilities and employment skills which are both their ‘choice’ and ‘survival’ will be broadcasted to their peers at a Market Place event to take place this August….