USAID’s SHOUHARDO III program, implemented by CARE Bangladesh, organized an online employment fair for linking skilled youth with potential employment. This two-days long virtual event started on Wednesday, 24 March 2021.
SHOUHARDO III is a USAID Development Food Security Activity being implemented by CARE Bangladesh in the char and haor regions of northern Bangladesh since 2015. One of its key components is youth engagement closely linked to its work with the private and public sector in creating employment. Out of the targeted 10,000 youth to reach in the duration of the activity, the program already reached almost all of them with employability skills training that included vocational skills and soft-skills (business planning, communication and negotiation, and financial literacy) trainings. Over time, the youth were trained on different trades that are in-demand in the job market including non-traditional ones such as hotel management and industrial machine operation. SHOUHARDO III youth interventions are geared to exploring and the potentials of rural youth and to prevent them from becoming the next generation of the poor.
The program held three job fairs in 2020 in Gaibandha, Kurigram, and Sylhet back in January and March respectively. Some 1,500 youth participants joined those fairs with at least 20% of them already reporting being employed in driving, electrical wiring, and welding fields. Although, job-fairs were supposed to be an on-going effort of the program, they could not be carried out due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Keeping the pandemic reality in mind, SHOUHARDO III decided to explore possibilities to host an event for continuing the job-linkage efforts while maintaining all the health guidelines. Renowned company BDjobs provided SHOUHARDO III with the technical support to develop this virtual event platform for continuing the employment linkage efforts. Through this virtual event, more than 800 youth from Netrokona, Kishoreganj, Sunamganj, Habiganj, Sirajganj, Jamalpur, Kurigram, and Gaibandha connected virtually to the platform. About 48 renowned companies, including PRAN RFL, Walton, Nitol-tata, joined the event as potential employers.
An official launching event was held in the morning of event’s Day 1, where representatives from Government departments, Technical Training Centers, Local youth ICT entrepreneurs, Union Digital entrepreneurs, the program staff and youth participants were present. Muhammad Kabir Uddin, Deputy Director Local Government (DDLG), Jamalpur stated “job-seekers often complain that they cannot find jobs, while the job-providers complain they do not get any skilled workers. Thus, developing the skills of our workforce and ensuring such linkage events are crucial”.
Bengal Group representative Mr. Mezbahul Alam stated “I have been working in recruitment for the past 12 years, this is the first time I am attending a virtual event. Thanks for the arrangement”. He also added, “the key problem we face as an employer is dealing with the mindset of the job-seekers. They are more focused on salary, rather than investing their time and effort in learning the task. People in companies like ours start with a salary of BDT 1800/1900 (USD 21/22) a month and upon gaining experience they gradually end up earning more than BDT 30,000 (USD 353) a month. We need to invest more in sensitizing them about this issue.”
After speeches from the distinguished guests, the virtual job-linkage platform was officially launched and its features were demonstrated. Local youth, with the assistance of the Union Digital Center ICT entrepreneurs and SHOUHARDO III staff, uploaded their CV and completed their application process for potential job-linkage. Qualified candidates will be shortlisted for potential employment at the participating companies based on online interviews.
On Thursday, 25th March, participating companies, entrepreneurs, organizations, and youth shared their experience about using the portal. Shafiqul Islam, a youth participant from Bakshiganj, Jamalpur stated “it was such a great experience. I managed to apply and sit for a job interview at my hometown, without having to spend any extra money on transportation. I am grateful to SHOUHARDO for this opportunity”. Prokash Roy Chowdhury from BDjobs shared his happiness to be a part of this event, saying “This was truly a useful and timely event. BDjobs hopes to organize an even bigger virtual job-fairs in the future, covering a wider group of participants.”
Till Thursday, job applications of nearly 400 youth were completed. Due to widespread popularity, the online application and interview process is expected to continue till next week.
The portal can be accessed here: https://bdjobs.com/jobfair/care