President unveils Rf360m programme to guide 8,500 Maldivians into skilled employment

President Mohamed Nasheed unveiled a massive Rf360 million (US$23 million) national programme today with an ambitious target of training 8,500 Maldivians for skilled employment.

In his address to the nation on Independence Day, President Nasheed explained that the programme would involve the creation of a training framework, raising awareness of job opportunities, offering assistance for job seekers and strengthening capacity for enforcing the Employment Act.

“Under the national programme devised by the government to lead skilled Maldivian workers to the job market, Maldivians who are urgently needed for the domestic labour market will be trained,” he said. “God willing, 6,977 Maldivians trained for the construction industry as welders, masons, electricians and other [specialities] will enter the job market.”

Meanwhile 3,800 people are to be trained as “chefs, waiters, housekeepers, diving instructors” and for other specialised jobs in the tourism industry.

“In addition, God willing we will create 450 entirely new jobs for Maldivians in the social sector as nurses, pharmacists, seamstresses and sport instructors,” he said. “860 Maldivians in fisheries and agriculture and 400 for other fields such as accounting will be put to work.”

Of the 8,500 new workers the government hopes to guide to skilled employment, 3,940 will be trained directly by their would be employers, 3,795 by government training centres, and 760 in overseas training programmes.

“The purpose of this is to familiarise youth with the work environment and create interest among them,” he said. “Also to connect the youth in training with employers and provide training in the fullest sense in as short a period as possible.”

President Nasheed revealed that 27 percent of the Maldivian workforce – composed of 205,000 working age adults – was unemployed.

“As things stand, 1,600 local companies and 2,000 individuals employ and cover expenses for over 70,000 expatriates,” he said. “Half of these expatriates are trained and skilled in some field or other.”

In the past ten years, said Nasheed, employment of foreign workers by Maldivians has increased threefold. Imported workers now constitute a third of the country’s 350,000 population, while trafficking labourers is estimated to be a US$123 million industry.

Wayward youth

With the prevailing high unemployment rate among youth, Nasheed continued, large numbers of young Maldivians who were neither seeking higher education nor acquiring new skills were financially dependent on their families or parents.

In 2010, the O’ Level examinations pass rate in the Maldives was 35 percent, up from 27 percent in 2008, which leaves 65 percent of school leavers aged 16 to 18 with limited opportunities for either higher education or employment.

Nasheed meanwhile went on to say that leaving a large number of the country’s youth “in the darkness of the jail cell with their lives destroyed” was an obstacle to national development.

President Nasheed also announced that close to 400 youth currently serving sentences would be given “a second chance” and released from prison.

He explained that in classifying the 400 convicts to be freed, priority was given to inmates with serious illnesses and those who could pursue higher education or be trained to acquire new skills.

400 inmates represent almost half the Maafushi prison population in 2009.

“For those who meet the conditions, a rehabilitation programme will be established for those who will be rejoining society under the second chance,” Nasheed said. “The basic purpose of this programme is to train them, find job opportunities for them and to ensure that they become people who are beneficial to their families.”

Nasheed said that the government had considered the possible danger to society of releasing people convicted of offences ranging from drug abuse, theft and assault: “We have learned a lot from past experiences,” he said.

Convicts released through the programme will immediately be returned to jail if they are arrested for any offence in a three-year period, Nasheed added, after which their chances of parole or eligibility for clemency would be “narrowed.”

“Our vision for national development has been drawn after crunching all the numbers, after formulating policies and determining its parameters,” he said.


14 thoughts on “President unveils Rf360m programme to guide 8,500 Maldivians into skilled employment”

  1. Good ideas and sweet talks. Unfortunately still the government does not understand the real problems in Male. The reason why Maldivians are unwilling to work is because of pay scale. The idea of going to work is to earn enough money to buy basic needs and to have shelter. With the present pay scale it is impossible to have a modest decent fife. So people are not dedicated to jobs. All most all Maldivian employers expect you to work for twelve hours and expect you to do all their dirty works. With all this when the end of month comes they do not pay the salaries and give lame excuses. These employers have money to go abroad for weekend, booze and womanize but are not willing to pay their staff.
    When they employ foreigners these so called employers have few problems. The salaries of foreigners are always pending for months and compare what they to pay Maldivian are higher. So private sector tries to avoid giving jobs to their country folks.
    Enforcing the Employment Act is something that will be difficult to enforce. This will be a miracle with the people who are working in concerned offences. Let us see what will be happening.

  2. A grand plan of fantastic proportions.

    One wonders whether the President and his number-crunchers have factored in;

    - Cultural attitudes, including but not exclusive to years of social conditioning by institutions and parents that young Maldivians should aim for white-collar jobs.
    - The effects of the wide income gap which encourage risky behavior.
    - The effects of poor law enforcement and no rule of law which leads youth towards lives of crime.
    - The concentration of the population in the only real economic center at the present - Male' - which has created problems such as congestion, high and artificial inflation of land rent, rising prices of commodities etc.

    If they have, then by all means I wish them luck with this project.

  3. A fine idea, but let's see the practicalities. Let's say these newly qualified welders, electricians, accountants, chefs etc start to look for work tomorrow.

    Where would they find jobs? Ah, yes, where else, but in our "beautiful" capital city of Male. If they are lucky enough to find a job, they'll be paid a pittance and won't be able to afford anywhere to live.

    They will have to leave their family and friends behind and "migrate" to Male and live in the congested hell that Male is!

    And as another poster has said, employers will always favour a foreigner since they can treat them in any way they please. Mr President, I don't think you're addressing the fundamental problems here.

  4. hmmmm,,,yes nice...but whats the programme? how do we get enrolled? more importantly, how can we know more about this?

  5. 50% of prison population reduced! - thanks president. This means more savings to the government

  6. Yes Mari why don't we "release" all the patients at the ICCU as well. Would certainly reduce operational costs at the hospital as well.

  7. When Nasheed applied to form a political party everyone laughed at him. After he became president ans when he proposed housing system people ridiculed him. He proved people wrong in both these instances. Now this one and the same old people have started their negative campaign. I believe that he will succeed in implementing the program.

  8. I would say its all ways good to have opprtunities to be qualified and skilled in diffrerent fields.But the matter of fact is if a maldivian mason is paid 6000 MRF per month and if could get a mason for 175USD from one of the neibouring country,ofcourse the opprtunity goes to foriegners.That the reality in Maldives.

    We have our nationals who are qualified in many field but the salaries and other benefits are too low.By earning USD175 per a month how could a Maldian will survive.But for that salary and benefit it easy to bring a foreign employee or labor into this country.Any investor or bussinesmen will focus to grow his or her bussiness.They all will try to spend less on salaries and other benefits to the employees.If they get cheap labors to get the job done.Ofcourse they will go for it.At the end of the day they are profitable and the savings are very positive.

    This is the reality we are facing in the Maldives.If we look into any corner its very visible.

    Few month back on my vacation i went to a local village.What i got suprised to see was number of foreign labors working on that island.Im 100% sure if they come out agaist the villagers they will win no matter what it takes.This is the reality.
    Our young generation is spoiled becouse of our policies,procedure,justice,government etc...

    Only thinking about today and we do not think about tomorrow.This is the matter of fact.It not about the trained or qaulified creative people.

  9. Why are opposition MPs not attending national functions and ceremonies? Isn't this an uncivilised act (naa thahuzeebu)and an irresponsible precedent to set? When MDP was the opposition they attended such ceremonies. I even saw the then opposition leader Nasheed at the ceremony to rectify the constitution.

    The only opposition member I saw was Mulothib at the function in Mulee Aage.

  10. Mohamed Nasheed has played his part in getting rid of the dictator and introducing “democracy” to the country.

    Sadly he lacks the economic clout and leadership skills to take the Maldives to the next level. His party officials and leading advisors are corrupt to the core like former government officials.

    His cabinet official like Mr Saleem lacks moral respect. He has made too many ambitious promises, which sane people will find difficult to believe. Ordinary citizens of the Maldives have not benefited from any of these programmes yet.

    His ambitious “carbon free Maldives” promise may never see life in his lifetime. Like the wind farm promise, ( he made which is now in tatters as the investors abandoned the project, ( ref Haveeru most of his promises will never see day light.
    His flagship policies like “ownership of land” in the Maldives has to be very carefully considered. His government is very keen on extending the resort lease for 99 years. This will create a massive wealth gap between poor and rich in the Maldives. This will personally benefit Nasheed’ s family as they own resorts as well.
    In the Hood they say to politicians “Keep it real”, mate!

  11. Mr. President. You better stop exploit ion of Maldives by US and UK. Your stupidness made this sovereign nation to be used as a puppet. Yesterday we celebrated our 46th independence day, but how come you say that we are independent while you are not able to stop US penetration in to all our ministries and recruiting agents for them and placing their moles at all government agencies. This the only time in Maldives history that other nations used to abuse Maldives for their ouwn benefit and damage our unity.

  12. Pray your youth succeeds finding meaningful employment life, opportunity pray your Gov. succeeds.

  13. @Adil

    Yes my friend, the US and UK are desperate to penetrate Male' despite both countries facing financial hardship of their own.
    No sir, I'm just wondering where this thinking comes from?
    No offense but as far as many of the world understands the Maldives is just an insignificant dot on the world map. nothing else..

  14. @ amavian

    This dot has voting right in the UN and its a Islamic country... US wants Anni to say what Israel doing is right. Then they will says Islamic countries accept Israel. Dear Amavia US thinks its easy to buy dot unseen in the world map.


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