Minister Alexander addresses 101st International Labour meet

The youth employment crisis was the focus of an address by the Minister for Labour and Human Resource Development Idith Alexander at the 101st conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) being held in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

The conference this year, being held from May 30 to June 14, is focusing on the activities of the ILO during the past two years which sought to address the impact of the daunting challenges of the global economic crisis on employment.

Other specific items being discussed are youth employment crisis; social protection floor and fundamental principles and rights at work.

In her address to the conference on Friday, Minister Alexander put strong emphasis on the youth employment crisis which has been recognised as a global challenge by the ILO.

Minister Alexander stressed that “ILO constituents need to create conducive conditions for decent work to be realised”.

She urged “ministries of Labour to be pro-active and remain committed to the needs of workers and jobseekers especially during the economic crisis” and she called on “international organisations to initiate sustainable approaches that remain relevant in times of crisis”.

The minister added that as a result of the “global  youth employment crisis, feasibility policies and comprehensive solutions must be developed to renew confidence of our young people in our strategies”.

From a national perspective, the minister equally acknowledged that “youths form the majority of jobseekers due to the difficulty to secure decent work, strict requirements by employers and the high expectations of the young people”.

She noted that “when expectations of young people are not met instantly, youths become discouraged to work and settle for employment opportunities that are not necessarily of their interest. As a consequence, this creates mobility of young workers and eventually – unemployment”.

Minister Alexander informed the conference that the government of Seychelles recognises that a “young productive workforce is important towards the growth of its economy.

“Seychelles invests a considerable budget every year to implement skills development programmes to train unskilled and inexperienced young male and female jobseekers to facilitate employment among the youths,” she said.

Additionally, “the Ministry of Labour and Human Resource Development is bridging the ‘experience gap’ through close partnership with employers to develop incentive packages to attract and recruit young jobseekers. New school-to-work strategies will also be initiated in secondary and post secondary schools to better prepare our young people for the world of work,” she added.

Minister Alexander took the opportunity to thank the outgoing director general of the ILO, Juan Somavia, for his support to Seychelles during his term of office and she congratulated Guy Ryder for his appointment as the new director general.

The annual International Labour conference also creates opportunities for Seychelles to strengthen its technical cooperation activities with the ILO. More technical and financial assistance to Seychelles is forthcoming from the organisation, of which the ministry will communicate further information after the conference.

Other members of the Seychelles delegation attending the ILO conference are Jules Baker, director general of Employment Promotion Division; Susan Morel, director Policy Planning and Research; Antoine Robinson representing the workers’ union and Michelle Labrosse representing the employers’ federation.