Job seekers look at job postings at an Employment and Welfare Center in Mapo-gu, Seoul, Jan. 13. (Yonhap)
New opportunities are opening up for young job seekers after the novel coronavirus caused severe internship cuts in 2020.
On Monday the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that it would provide 350 job seekers with professional training and field experience.
The Seoul Youth Internship Job Training Camp will place participants at global companies such as 3M, GM, Procter & Gamble, Visa and Coca-Cola, as well as at emerging startups in industries such as computer programming and big data.
Applicants must be aged 18-34, and at least 20 percent of the positions will go to candidates from economically vulnerable groups.
After three to four months of training, the trainees will be employed as interns by the Seoul Metropolitan Government for a further three months.
The city plans to spend 3.5 million won ($3,176) per person on job training and 2.2 million won per month on intern salaries. The total budget for the program is 4 billion won.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government has been working closely with the American Chamber of Commerce since 2020 with the aim of attracting global companies to participate. Some 50 companies have decided to join the program so far, and more are expected to apply by Friday.
In addition, the city government plans to select more than 100 promising companies in new industries to help recruit interns. Companies with investments in programming, big data, robots, electronic materials, next-generation treatments, renewable energy and games are especially welcome to apply.
Kim Eui-seung, the city’s deputy mayor for economic policy, said in a press release, “With COVID-19 still hitting us hard, companies have drastically reduced their hiring numbers, and recruited newcomers that are only limited to doing certain tasks, making it much harder for young people to get a chance to gain work experience in the first place.”
Kim said he hoped the project would serve as a bridge that connects companies looking for employees in the near future to those young people who are passionate about experiencing the fields they wish to work in.
Despite the movement happening at the city level, the continued downturn in the nation’s job market has led to an unstable employment rate, which is especially apparent among the younger generation.
According to data from Statistics Korea, 1 out of every 10 people in their 20s and 30s was pushed out of economic activities last year. In the same age group, some 550,000 people are still looking for work today.
Experts say there is a limit to the number of short-term jobs that can be created to encourage youth employment, without a clear analysis of the current overall market situation.
In response, the government plans to announce additional measures by March to generate sustainable jobs for young people.
By Kim Hae-yeon (firstname.lastname@example.org