Youthful Thinking

I thought I will elevate a comment made yesterday on Brunei youths to a proper discussion.

Mohammad, one of this blog's active commentator wrote yesterday 'It is rather absurd that the Youth Development Centre ("Pusat Pembangunan Belia) -- under the care of Culture, Youth and Sports Ministry through the Youth and Sports Department -- has for donkeys of years been running sewing or tailoring courses as well as hair-cutting or barber courses for Bruneian youths and yet not a single iota of their annual 'graduates' have succeeded in setting up shop or even in taking up jobs in their trained fields! Why?! Since aeons gone by, Bruneian consumers have to be at the mercy of Indian, Filipino, Indonesian or other foreign workers for our needs e.g. hair-cuts or tailored clothes, etc. Ah well, beggars can't be choosy...:('

Maybe that's exaggerating a bit that none has taken up jobs at their trained fields or set up shops. There has been some. From what I can see, those taking up jobs tended to be at more established restaurants such as at the RBC restaurants. There are quite a large number working for the palaces. Setting up shops - quite a few. I know of a few who actually went back to school and graduated with higher qualifications. Hence Mohammad is right - with all those graduating, there should be more in the market. It would be interesting if a proper study was conducted to see the effectiveness of the education provided to the youths in these areas.

One of my PS colleagues believed strongly that Brunei youths are willing to work in all sorts of areas. But they want to work with Bruneians only that is not having a Filipino or Indian etc as his or her superior. So far, I have seen that work with the Youths Cooperatives. You will be quite surprised how this cooperative have been doing well. So there is a myth that Brunei youths are not willing to work in menial work.

Another interesting aspect is that it is most parents that do not want their offsprings to work in menial condition or even in any non-government job. This mentality goes all the way regardless of how high the status of the job is. I remembered when I was the MD at TAP, in the one year I was there, TAP lost around 7 Assisstant Managers Posts. These are highly trained and everytime one goes away, we had to find another one. In most cases, they went to the 'government' and that TAP was not 'government' enough. TAP employs their employees directly and not through SPA. Can we blame the youths then?


Al-Qadr said…
BRo, most local Bruneian SMEs are being faced with exactly that 'hiring' dilemma when it comes to well-qualified Bruneian youths. After investing on HND and Uni degree holders for 1 to 3 months, off they switched to careers in the Civil Service for better pay and perks. Can't blame them, of course. Government will never lower salary scales to match Private Sector minimal wages..

With respect to trained youths, more could be done to help them become self-employed in terms of financial support and smalltime business schemes. But who would want to provide such support is still a big question mark. Still, it is Bruneian business owners who employ all those foreign workers. So you win some, lose some... At the end of the day our youths lose the most and unemployment rises!
Amir said…
Good Morning,
As a manager in a non-governmental establishment, I find that the Bruneians (Malays) that walk through the door looking for employment are by-and-large passing time until their government applications are approved.
The staff - I run a department of about 15 ppl - that work for me represent an interesting spectrum with regards to their commitment to the job. There are,
- the 'hungry' go-getters on the one end... who are looking to grow professionally and take their job seriously,
- the 'position fillers' in the middle... time keepers who work just enough to get by and nothing more... in at 8am and out at 5pm on the dot, and
- the 'government hopefuls'... resembling the 'position fillers' to some extent but, with the added 'flight risk'.
I feel that it goes beyond merely remuneration that determines whether a local chooses government over private. Case in point, I had a staff who was earning BND800/= a month basic in a fairly visible and essential position in the business. He tendered 4-6 mths in the job, to pursue a job with the Postal department: as a postman. And I know for a fact that the position pays alot, lot less.
Another case in point, I lost a valuable sales staff half way into the year because... her parents said it would be better for her in govt.
I find that we are - I am Malay too - too comfy... much too complacent even... when it comes to employment choices,
- rather work for govt than private,
- prefer office work as opposed to work in service type industries (people, please... service does not mean servile... dignity is what the individual brings to the position, not the other way around).
- not wanting to work for non-Bruneians (i.e. preference for Malay superiors)

There is no clear cut assignment of blame here. It is the proverbial chicken and egg scenario,
- if govt didn't make it so easy (in terms of applying and filling) for positions, people won't necessarily opt for working with them. And,
- if Bruneians weren't picky and were more 'driven' and 'sturdier', they would stay with the private establishments.

Times are changing... jobs are getting harder to come by, and our wants are increasing disproportionately in relation to our incomes.

It's time to wake-up.
Al-Qadr said…
Well said wang tuan Amir and well done! May your business thrive and prosper well into the future..

Actually, when I mentioned the Youth Development Centre, I forgot all about ALCOA via BEDB funding some incentives for some of the youths in the PPB programme. With this kind of Private Public Partnership support, hope is still out there for our youths. With great Bruneian employers like Amir, things are looking up now!

It's up to our own youths to grab the opportunities presented to 'em.

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