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Building bridges for meaningful employment for youth

With approximately 80,000 young people entering the job market in Laos every year during the next decade, new partnerships have been forged.

Youth unemployment is a key concern for Laos, as many young people lost their jobs due to business closures and slower economic growth caused by COVID-19.

Therefore, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Solver and Stella, is launching the Job Assist Office (JAO) to build bridges for meaningful employment for youth.

The JAO is implemented by the Solver and Stella and administered by UNDP. This is an experiment that aims to test the viability of solutions to youth unemployment by offering customized one-on-one career counselling and group training on digital skills, job search skills, CV writing, job interview and soft skills, as well as connecting potential employers to employees.

JAO adopts agile practice by consistently listening to the needs and skill levels of youth participants in designing and adjusting course materials – identifying what works and what does not.

Co-chaired by Mr. Alounxay Sounnalath, Secretary General, Lao Youth Union, Mr. Vladimir A. Kalinin, Ambassador of Russian Embassy, and Ms. Ricarda Rieger, Resident Representative, UNDP, this event launches JAO with an aim to test whether the currently unemployed youth and graduates would have higher chances of obtaining and maintaining a job if they are properly equipped with employable skills and are connected to potential employers.

“Skill development is crucial for economic empowerment, and this work must begin with youth as they make up a significant part of the labour force. Central to that will be reaching out to young people seeking employment, training, and career pathway opportunities. This project will help to fill existing skill gaps in the country,” said Mr. Alounxay Sounnalath, Secretary General, Lao Youth Union.

“The Job Office Assist is another vivid example of successful and fruitful cooperation between the Lao PDR, the Russian Federation, and the UNDP. We believe that this project will provide a solid assistance in supporting young generation in acquiring a job and realizing their professional skills and potential,” said Mr. Vladimir A. Kalinin, Russian Ambassador to the Lao PDR.

“The project will support the government’s effort in building forward better by equipping youth with necessary skills to enter the job market once the economy bounces back. JAO is a perfect platform to test the viability of this idea and to see what we can do differently to help youth access meaningful employment. We know that strong partnerships are significant in getting youth ready for careers. We are excited to work with the Solver and Stella to ensure youth have opportunities to explore career pathways that match their expertise and aspiration,” said Ms. Ricarda Rieger, Resident Representative at UNDP.

UNDP has been working on empowering youth through multiple activities, including through the Enhancing Social and Economic Opportunities for Youth in the Lao PDR project and several initiatives being led by UNDP Accelerator Lab. UNDP welcomes opportunities to explore collaboration with new partners to strengthen youth empowerment and employment in the Lao PDR.

Source: Lao News Agency