My First Job Scheme
65.9% of registered participants already working
30% not ready for employment
According to the latest figures dated August 31, 2021 from ‘My First Job’ unit, out of 631 youths registered, 416 (or 65.9%) are already in employment, 189 (30%) are not yet ready for employment and 16 are actively looking for jobs.
This report clearly demonstrates the rigorous follow-up this unit is doing within the Ministry of Employment & Social Affairs.
To know more about this unit and its services, Seychelles NATION spoke to senior employment officer Marinette Freminot at the unit.
“My First Job Unit is mainly for post-secondary students who have completed their studies. As part of the government’s plan for decent jobs and growth, ‘My First Job’ scheme is to get more young people working – either through employment or by starting their own businesses. This unit has been in existence since 2016 and so far it has been assisting this specific group of new employees,” explained Ms Freminot.
In the process, the government aims to help young people gain important career skills, experience and guidance; sparking new interest in entrepreneurship; partnering with employers, educators, industry and not-for-profits to support young workers.
What about the 189 young people not ready for employment?
“The figures under the column ‘Not ready for employment’ are the youth who are not ready for an immediate job due to various reasons such as waiting for further studies, pregnancy or other personal reasons,” explained Ms Freminot.
The officers at the ‘My First Job Unit’ also assist the job seekers with ‘interview tips’, making a curriculum vitae and how to put them at ease with basic employment laws.
“Once they finish school, our unit contacts them individually to start the process for them to get into employment,” Ms Freminot noted.
What is the ‘My First Job’ scheme?
The scheme is under the employment department. Under the programme, employer will pay the graduates the salary of the post that the graduate is employed to occupy. The government will refund 40% of salary paid to each young graduate who are employed by private companies for a period of one year, the refund to be capped at R7000 a month.
Gross Salary R8000
Government contributes: 40% of R7000 (Capped Salary) = R2800
R8000 - R2800 = R5200
The graduate from day one is a normal worker employed by the organisation. The only difference is that part of the salary is contributed by the government for a period of one year.
After the one year the employer will cover the full salary of the graduate.
Who is eligible for the programme?
Ms Freminot points out that currently the unit is working with 593 employers in Seychelles and they are adequately prepared to help the school leavers and graduates find a job.
“Not every year you will have employers who are actively involved with the ministry and act according to the vacancies available,” shared the senior employment officer.
To be eligible for the programme, an employer must: Be a registered business with a legal business name and business number, Taxation Identification Number (TIN) and also register at the Pension Fund; Have a position to fill that is normally part of ongoing business operations; Offer a full-time position with a minimum of 35 hours per week; Be enrolled on the ministry’s employer database.
The employer shall select, for this programme, a youth who has completed his/her studies at any professional centre; is aged between 15 and 25 years; is registered on the ministry’s professional centres graduate database and provide the same working conditions as that of other workers in the business. The employer shall also ensure that the graduate works under supervision and ensure the availability of relevant tools and equipment.
What are the responsibilities as an employer?
In case of premature termination of the employment, the employer shall inform the ministry in writing of such termination, its effective date and the reasons thereof, not later than 14 days of the date of termination.
The same will apply where the employment is terminated before the twelfth month in the period following the initial year of employment.
In case the employer, for no valid reason, does not retain the graduate in employment after the initial placement period for at least 12 additional months, the employer shall not be eligible to participate under the programme and may be subject to refund the government for contribution made by the latter for the graduate salary during the time of employment
Procedures for 40% refund
The employer will pay 100% of the graduate’s salary through the same process as it is for other workers in employment. Employer shall after that submit a refund claim form to the Ministry of Employment & Social Affairs for refund of 40% of salaries paid on or before the last day of the month. The government shall refund the employing organisations within 10 working days of the following month. Claims received after the last working day of the current due month will be refunded the month after.
To prevent abuse close monitoring will be done by the ministry. The ministry shall be granted access to the relevant documents as per the requirements of the Employment Act 1995, and sites in relation to the employment of the graduates.
Employer willing to participate has to enroll on the programme by contacting the ministry for necessary formalities. All potential professional centres’ graduates will be registered within two months before completing their respective studies by the private employment agencies or officers from the ministry.
Ms Freminot also remarked that “when the pandemic hit Seychelles badly, they created a sub program to cater for the internship for many of the youths so that they learn new skills and also get a stipend for six months. But once the situation subsides, we stopped that programme”.
Words of caution for the young job seekers from Ms Freminot is to take up a job and learn on the job.
“There are different posts for different salaries. You should aim high but you have to start small and build on that and gain experience.”