19 December 2012

Morocco: Nation Tackles Youth Employment

Rabat — Lawmakers are pushing the government to accelerate their efforts in resolving Morocco's unemployment problem.

Moroccan MPs recently urged the government to shoulder its responsibilities by finding jobs for young graduates and non-graduates.

During a session in Parliament on December 3rd, MP Omar Hjira said the government must find innovative solutions to get young graduates into work in a range of sectors.

Former Prime Minister Abbass El Fassi's pledged to recruit graduates directly. But current Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane recommended competitive recruitment processes as the only way of getting into the public sector.

Hjira argued that young people had no confidence in the competitive recruitment system, which has long been tainted by favouritism.

Law graduate Sara Damini claimed competitions were a sham and did not offer equal opportunity.

"I doubt the current government can guarantee transparent recruitment competitions enabling young people to take up public-sector jobs," she said.

"I have tried applying several times over the years without success, whereas a number of people who are less capable than me have been successful. So what's the explanation for this state of affairs?" she asked.

Employment Minister Abdelouahed Souhail said the government's decision was final and that these young people must accept this situation for the sake of equal opportunity and transparency.

He stressed that the government was encouraging the private sector to create jobs and was also promoting self-employment.

The minister also said that vocational training was the ideal way of helping them find jobs.

"Every year 250,000 pupils leave school and 65% of them take up jobs," he said.

He also pointed out that the government was striving to fill in the gaps in this area, such as the lack of a body responsible for advising young jobseekers with no degree.

Right now, the National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Skills only helps graduates. The minister said that it will soon start helping non-graduates too.

The government's strategy for this category of young people consists of offering more vocational training courses. A total of 390,000 trainees are currently enrolled in courses at institutes and colleges. It is projected that a million people will complete courses by 2016.

22 year-old Hanaa Charrat is currently training to become a hairdresser and beautician. She left school six years ago and chose vocational training as a pathway to a job.

"After I spent six years doing nothing other than housework to help my mother, a neighbour advised me to take my destiny into my own hands so that I wouldn't end up in an insecure position. All you need is willpower. These days, I'm ambitious. This training will enable me to work for myself once I've earned my certificate," she said.

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