Gulf Daily News - 6/5/2006
BAHRAIN's economy created 67,000 jobs last year, but only 10 per cent were taken by Bahrainis, revealed Labour Minister Dr Majeed Al Alawi.However, with the opening of new multi-million dinar projects like the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH), the number is expected to increase substantially this year, he told the GDN.
He described Bahrain's BD30 million National Employment Project (NEP) as a resounding success.
Out of more than 13,000 Bahrainis who were initially on the project's registration list, nearly 4,000 people have already found jobs, said Dr Al Alawi.
Up to 10,000 jobs are up for grabs under the NEP, he revealed.
"Everyone registered under the programme will be offered either a job or training," said Dr Al Alawi.
"A large number of companies have come forward to recruit job-seekers.
"We give three options for the candidates who can choose one of them."
However, 40 per cent of the candidates have already refused all the three options, said Dr Al Alawi.
"Though we originally thought of taking such people off the job-seekers' list, we have decided to give them more chances," he revealed.
"Our idea is to convince them to take up the available jobs and climb the ladder of success by attending various training programmes.
"The main training programmes are held at the Bahrain Training Institute.
"The technical schools in Bahrain are also open for NEP candidates during afternoon hours."
A job-orientation programme has been developed to provide job-seekers with more information about the labour market.
"We brief them about the jobs available in the market and the future of these jobs via a half-day trip to a number of companies where they may work in the future," said Dr Al Alawi.
"These trips give them the opportunity to see and understand real working life, to meet people face to face and hear some personal success stories from Bahraini workers."
Women made up more than 75 per cent of the successful candidates registered under the NEP.
The majority of the candidates are secondary school leavers or school dropouts.
Five centres are still open for job-seekers to register.
Registrations started on January 2 in 20 centres spread over the country's five governorates.
Assessment of candidates is done in four centres and an average of 240 people attend these sessions daily.
The NEP programme uses career-related assessment, which is designed to tailor evaluation to individuals and provide accurate information about a person's capabilities, desires and future career.
Assessment centres help the applicants better understand their strengths by identifying areas in which they already have skills, abilities and interests.
Following the assessment programme, job-seekers attend a work ethics workshop.
"Employers are eager to recruit youths with discipline, who know their rights and duties," said Dr Al Alawi.
"This course is delivered by highly qualified trainers."
After the job-seekers complete all the relevant steps, they could land a job through direct recruitment, on-the-job training or attend a full training programme, said Dr Al Alawi.
"The NEP will be completed in 18 months and during this period all job-seekers who are genuinely unemployed will find a gainful employment," he pledged.
"We are targeting companies that employ 50 workers or more. We are now meeting prospective employers, both from the public and private sectors. We are happy with their response. We are confident of offering jobs to all genuine applicants."
Australian firm EFI International has been assigned by the government as a consultant for the project.