The South Korean government said Tuesday it will introduce an apprenticeship system similar to that of Switzerland where students can receive education or training while also working, a move aimed at boosting the country's youth employment rate.
The measure is an effort to improve the country's youth employment rate that continues to drop despite rises in the overall employment in recent years, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
"An increase in youth unemployment rate not only means the loss of personal opportunities for individuals who are unable to improve their personal careers through employment but also a loss for the entire economy," the ministry said.
Ministry data showed the country's overall employment rate rose from 61.5 percent in 2000 to 64.5 percent as of the end of last year. However, the employment rate of people aged between 15 and 29 shrank from 43.4 percent to 39.5 percent over the cited period, with that of people aged between 20 and 24 years plunging 10 percentage points to 42 percent.
The employment rate for youth compares with 69.7 percent in Switzerland and 50.9 percent average for member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the data.
The ministry partly attributed the low youth employment rate to an unprecedentedly high number of people moving on to college after high school, and to a large gap between what they learn in school and what's required for the job.
A recent survey showed 93 percent of parents want their children to receive college education, and 52.3 percent of those already employed after high school wish to receive college education, even at the cost of quitting their current job, according to the ministry.
The new support measures announced Tuesday will first seek to narrow the gap between school education and training and job requirements, reducing the need for additional education or training upon getting a job.
To this end, they government will expand the number of students at specialized high schools that offer job training, the ministry said.
It also plans to introduce an apprenticeship system where companies will allow, and in some cases pay for, additional education or training for their employees. The government seeks to increase the number of such companies by 10-fold from 1,000 this year to 10,000 in 2017.
The ministry said such efforts will help up to 500,000 young people find new jobs by 2017.
"The government will work to create new, quality jobs and also eliminate the mismatch between the kind of work people want and what is available, through its ongoing efforts to remove excessive government regulations and revitalize the economy," it said. (Yonhap)