Mon, Sep 23, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Foundations collaborate to help young people find work

Staff writer

The Citi Foundation and the Garden of Hope Foundation collaborate on an employment program to assist young people in developing their potential and finding suitable jobs.

Photo courtesy of Citi Taiwan

The Citi Foundation and the Garden of Hope Foundation are collaborating to help more young people find jobs.

The collaborative effort starts this month in New Taipei City, Taichung and Tainan, offering vocational slots for young people.

Statistics from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics show that the average unemployment rate last year was 3.7 percent, but in terms of age, 11.54 percent of 15-to-24-year-olds were unemployed, a statistic similar to what was seen in the 2008 financial crisis.

The Garden of Hope Foundation said that over its 30 years of service, it has seen youths who are forced to sustain themselves financially due to teenage pregnancy, being a victim of rape, having run away from home, or coming from a dysfunctional family.

These children are often exploited at work due to insufficient knowledge of their rights under the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), the foundation said.

People younger than 16 cannot be employed with labor and health insurance, it said, adding that people with only a junior-high school certificate are considered the equivalent of having graduated from elementary school.

About 111,000 teenagers aged 15 to 19 entered the workforce in 2017, with 70 percent of them receiving less than NT$25,000 per month, the foundation cited statistics as saying.

A young woman who wished only to be known as A-pao (阿葆) said she became a mother at the age of 19 and on top of that, shouldered the burden of financing the family.

As she was unable to afford a babysitter on her monthly salary, she said she had to take her child with her to work, and not many people wanted to hire a young mother with a child.

She started work at a betel nut stand, which offered a monthly salary of NT$26,000 and four days off per month, but was fired a year later.

Young people like A-pao are faced with uncertainty, as their job is not guaranteed and their salary cannot cover daily expenses, much less allow them to start saving, the foundation said.

A girl nicknamed Chia Chia (佳佳), who said she was no stranger to the dilemma of work and study, as she started working in junior-high school to provide for her tuition and living expenses. The family’s finances were unstable because her father was handicapped and her mother suffered from bipolar disorder.

A girl nicknamed Jung Jung (蓉蓉) said she had started working when she was 14, but never really understood what kind of work she was more suited for.

Jung Jung said she attended the foundation’s youth work program, which allowed her to learn about many different jobs.

The program also gave her the opportunity to set up stalls at various events and helped provide a platform for her, Jung Jung said, adding that she is about to take up the challenge of being a speaker at the foundation.

To resolve youth unemployment across the world, Citibank has established youth fostering programs worldwide, aiming to nurture young people’s skill sets and enable them to obtain a job to which they are suited, thus further advancing society and contributing to their development.

The Pathway to Progress program, launched in 2015 by the Citibank Foundation, is one such program. The program’s goal is to assist young people in developing their potential and finding suitable jobs. People aged 16 to 24 are eligible for the program, which helps fosters skill sets and offers consultation for employment.

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