Sat, Aug 29, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Hung Hsiu-chu says more vocational training needed

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) yesterday presented her second policy aimed at “breaking the low-income spell,” calling for more and enhanced vocational training centers and promising “empowerment vouchers” for young unemployed people to receive free training.

After a policy proposed earlier this month to encourage salary hikes by granting tax deductions to corporations, Hung’s campaign team yesterday called for the establishment of a “national academy of empowerment” to help young people find jobs.

Hung said that while the tax deduction policy is a solution on the demand front, the new policy about occupational training is on the supply side.

“I have come to be in touch with many young people lately who are creative and energetic, but are without a job or good salary. It really is our government’s fault for paying little heed to vocational education and the growing gap between industry and education,” Hung said.

“The populist education policy [during the Democratic Progressive Party administration] to universalize college education, which has resulted in the collapse of vocational education,” is also to blame, Hung said.

The government has been working on providing occupational training, “but with too few slots and little publicity,” she said.

The new policy outlined four steps: setting up skill assessment criteria, establishing a national academy of empowerment, issuing empowerment vouchers, and amending the law to secure finances for the enlargement of occupational training.

“Besides existing occupational training, we want to expand the network by encouraging colleges to work with corporations to set up training centers on campus, or incorporating courses in departments and making assessments, passing which should allow students to secure employment,” she said.

As for fees required for training, the team said “empowerment vouchers” would be provided, first to those aged under 39 who have been unemployed for at least 13 weeks.

“As long as they complete the whole course, the fee could be completely waived,” Hung said, adding that those who pass the skills assessment would be guaranteed a job with firms that have signed contracts with the training centers.

The percentage of employment insurance premiums taken in by the government is to be raised from 10 percent to 20 percent through an amendment to the Employment Insurance Act (就業保險法) to raise the funds needed to support the vouchers and the training, she said.

KMT think tank member and former minister of transportation and communications Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) said that the unemployment rate last month among the 20-24 age group was 12.91 percent, while it was 6.65 percent among those aged 25 to 29, with both percentages greater than the national average of 3.82 percent.

“Last year’s average monthly wage for first-time workers was NT$25,634, which has not grown much from NT$23,910 in 2004,” Yeh said.

KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) said the party caucus would propose the revision in the next legislative session and strive to have it clear the legislature before the session ends.

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