Lebanon Businessnews News

NEW labor program
by the World Bank
To improve employability for first-time job seekers
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The government is launching the ‘New Entrants to Work’ (NEW) program for first-time job seekers to improve their employability and prospects for employment.

The program addresses high levels of unemployment and underemployment among youth. It will be managed by the National Employment Office (NEO), under the supervision of the Ministry of Labor (MoL), with technical assistance from the World Bank.

Haneen Sayed, Human Development and Youth Coordinator in the Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, said: “This program has several benefits, but mainly, it will shorten the long waiting period for graduates for finding jobs, especially that they don’t have the experience required by employers.”

NEW will offer 1,600 first-time job seekers the opportunity to enroll in an integrated program of life skills training and counseling, combined with a two-year on-the-job training (OJT) in a private sector firm. Employers hiring first-time job seekers will receive a wage subsidy of 10 percent of the employees’ wages, for twelve months. In addition, the employers will be reimbursed for a period of twenty-four months for the employees’ social security contributions to the National Social Security Fund.

The program is financed by a World Bank grant, the MoL and the private sector. The total estimated program cost is $4 million.

NEW has four interrelated components. The first is life skills training, where participants will be provided with technical and life skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication skills, and positive attitudes, among others.

The second component is job search and counseling, where animated modules in these sessions developed by the NGO will focus on resume writing, application completion, interview preparation, and business writing. The third component is the OJT, where the selected NGOs must assure practical experience for the trainee and serve as the placement agency between the program participant (first-time employee) and the private sector. The last component is social security vouchers combined with a wage subsidy, where 800 participants, upon successful completion of the 50-hour training, will be placed on OJTs.

Sayed said that this program is open to applicants nationwide to all first-time job seekers.

At the end of the training period, participants will receive a certificate. Half of the trained youth will receive a voucher for the social security contribution and the wage subsidy.

NEO has developed an IT system for the program. The system will register participants, monitor and evaluate the program’s impact, record training classes, track achievement of educational or employment milestones, and monitor transactions of the use of the social security and wage subsidy vouchers for each program participant.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Dec 16, 2014
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