Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Minister unveils youth subsidy program

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

The government yesterday unveiled a youth subsidy program to help children from low-income families make a smooth transition to college or work and help students graduating from high schools get a head start on their careers.

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) yesterday unveiled the Youth Employment Pilot Program at a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei.

According to the program, the education ministry and Ministry of Labor would each allocate a monthly subsidy of NT$5,000 (US$157.43) to 5,000 qualifying high-school students graduating next year for up to three years, Pan said.

The subsidies would be deposited to “employment savings accounts” and participants will be able to claim the subsidies after they complete the program, he said.

Quoting President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) as saying that the nation needs to grant students more freedom in education, Pan said that his ministry hopes that students who finish high school can break from the norm of jumping into higher education after their graduation and take leeway to experience the workplace and see the world.

To qualify for the program, applicants will be required to submit proposals stating how long they want to work and what they hope to achieve, and pass a review, after which they would be directed to companies that match their objectives, he said.

The time frame indicated by applicants in their proposals cannot be shorter than two years or longer than five years, he said.

During this period, students participating in the program will be offered jobs at government-selected companies operating in traditional, agricultural, cultural and creative, and industrial and commercial sectors, Pan said, adding that all companies taking part in the program would undergo a vetting process to ensure that the participants work in reasonable conditions and are paid more than the minimum wage.

Participants who work for three years or longer would able to claim subsidies totaling NT$360,000, which can be used to start their own businesses or pursue further education, he said.

Participants who have made other plans or decide to return to school without completing the program would be able to claim subsidies in proportion to the time they spent in the program on the condition that they file an application and pass a review, he said.

The experience participants would gain from the program would serve as a key reference for those who choose to pursue a higher education, the minister said, adding that the ministry would create a separate application channel for participants who did not enter college entrance examinations.

Companies that participate in the program will receive a monthly subsidy of NT$5,000 for each graduate they train, Pan said.

The Executive Yuan said that it has earmarked NT$7.2 billion to fund the first stage of the program, which is to run until 2020.

Alternatively, high-school graduates can apply to work as tour guides at local or overseas tourist sites or as volunteers at nonprofit organizations working with the education ministry and find out what they are interested in, Pan said.

Citing an Institute of Information Industry survey, which shows that 25 percent of university students say that they “picked the wrong major” after their matriculation, Pan said that he hopes the program will help break the trend and help students use their education in their jobs.

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