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Japanese gov't to beef up youth employment
Publication Date : 22-01-2013
As difficult employment conditions continue for young people, Japan's Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry plans to launch new measures to help them this fiscal year.
Aiming to help young people known as NEETs (not in education, employment or training) find jobs, and help young people in temporary positions become regular employees, the ministry will increase the number of local youth support stations by about 40 per cent.
Support stations help unemployed people aged from 15 to around 40 regain their desire to work. Their services are free in principle.
The government entrusts management of support stations to private entities, such as nonprofit organisations with experience in helping young people get jobs, and subsidises part of the entities' labour costs.
The ministry's plan aims to work with schools to help students who have not decided on their future course to find jobs or enroll in higher eduction.
The ministry also will establish a new system to give monthly subsidies of 150,000 yen (US$1,676) per employee to companies that conduct job training for workers in temporary positions.
Support stations nationwide provide various types of assistance, from mental support to practical job experience.
On January 11, a business etiquette seminar was held at a support station in Tachikawa, Tokyo. Five people aged 20 to 24 attended.
One instructor told them: "People who joined a company earlier than you are your seniors. Even if they're younger than you, you have to use honourific expressions."
Support station staff explained important points regarding job interviews, including how to dress, and the five young people enthusiastically took notes.
The Tachikawa support station has 10 staff, including people certified in related fields.
A 28-year-old man using the facility said he failed to join a company after graduating from a Tokyo university, and confined himself to his home for about a year.
However, he attended lectures at the support station about communication skills and gained a work experience at a local specialty goods store. He regained his confidence and now aims to get a job this spring.
"If there are more support stations, it will definitely reduce the number of young people worrying alone," the man said.
A support station in Sapporo has already begun full-scale collaboration with some middle and high schools in the city. Since April, the support station has shared information with schools about young people who are at risk of dropping out.
So far, five such people have succeeded in getting jobs or decided to enroll in higher education.
"The earlier we respond, the easier it is for our users to find jobs or decide to enroll in higher education," said Ko Matsuda, 38, chief coordinator of the support station. "This attempt should be spread nationwide."
The ministry's policy is in line with the new administration's stance of strengthening assistance to help young people get stable employment.
The ministry requested 60 billion yen in funding for the scheme in this fiscal year's supplementary budget.
There are 116 local youth support stations across the nation. They help young people who have confined themselves at home after graduating from school, and young people who have quit their jobs as a result of interpersonal relations.
Staff certified as career consultants and clinical psychotherapists devise plans to assist young people who have lost their confidence to work. Then the support stations provide work experiences and seminars.
About 35,000 people used support stations in fiscal 2006, when the project started. Last fiscal year, the number was about 450,000.
Thus the ministry has decided to increase the number of support stations to about 160. According to the ministry, about 12,000 people found jobs or enrolled in higher education last fiscal year as a result of support stations' assistance.
However, the support stations basically help young people who visit the stations. It is difficult for them to offer assistance to young people who graduate from middle schools without having decided their future course in life and those at risk of dropping out of high school.
Therefore, the ministry will cooperate with the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry to form networks so the support stations can share information about such young people with middle and high schools.
If the support stations have staffers who regularly visit schools or the homes of those receiving assistance, the government will pay for their labour costs.
The government will also subsidise part of companies' efforts to help young people working as part-time workers and temporary contract staff become permanent employees.
On the condition that companies aim to make such nonregular workers permanent employees, the government will give subsidies for job training by veteran workers.
The ministry aims to offer 150,000 yen a month per worker to companies in such cases. Even after the young people become permanent employees, the ministry aims to provide 500,000 yen a year to their companies for up to two years to encourage them to keep such young people as permanent employees.