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Schemes combining training and employment yield results, HRDA DG tells CNA
CNA - Kyriaki Demetriou - Cyprus/Nicosia 11/04/2014 11:03




The employment percentage of people who have participated in schemes implemented by the Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA) is quite satisfactory, considering the economic difficulties prevailing in Cyprus, Deputy Director General George Panayides has told Cyprus News Agency.

In an interview with CNA, Panayides said the rate of the participants who were employed following the completion of a scheme during 2009-2012 was 45%.
“The rate is quite satisfactory considering the tough economic conditions Cyprus is faced with,” Panayides noted, stressing also that schemes combining training with employment in business have a very positive impact. More than 8 out of 10 participants (82%) in a scheme aimed at recruiting university graduates into businesses, continued to work afterwords, he noted.

He underlined that the first priority of the HRDA is to contribute in tackling the unprecedented impact of the economic crisis on employment placing emphasis on the schemes launched by the Government to place unemployed in business and organisations to obtain work experience.

Another key priority, he noted, is to upgrade the skills and knowledge of the workforce.

During the current period, the Authority, he said, implements three schemes targeting young people. Two of them provide practical training opportunities and work experience for unemployed graduates of secondary education, under 25, or university graduates under 35, to improve their employability.
He said that 2.100 unemployed and 1.300 businesses applied for a scheme aiming at secondary school graduates.

Each of the two introduced schemes aims at the integration of 2,500 young persons in the Cypriot labour market.
The third scheme aims at helping university graduates to integrate into the labour market by acquiring work experience.

HRDA Director General said the Authority`s services and programs are exploited to “a great extent” by SMEs to improve their competitiveness and productivity. Figures showed that in 2012 a total of 4,622 companies made use of the programs, of which 4,535 (98%) were SMEs. In particular, 2,578 or 56% were small enterprises, employing 1-9 individuals, 1,512 or 33% employed 10-49 individuals, whereas 445 or 10% were medium enterprises employing 50-249 people.
“A slight decline has been registered after the financial crisis of March 2013 due to difficulties encountered by many businesses” Panayides noted.

The HRDA has implemented a system to asses the effect of the implemented schemes on the island`s economy, he added.
In this framework the Authority carried out a study in May 2013 to evaluate the effects of the Special Prevention Plan – Action Plan, with participants in programs launched during the period 2009-2012.

Panayides said that the results of the study showed that the employment rate of participants after completing a program was 45% “which is considered quite satisfactory considering the tough economic conditions prevailing in Cyprus”.
They also showed the “very positive impact of those schemes that combine training with employment in businesses”. More than eight out of ten participants (82%) in a scheme aimed at recruiting university graduates into businesses, continued to work after completing the program, Panayides said.

HRDA Deputy Director General said that the promotion of the Vocational Qualifications System is intensified in order to upgrade the country`s human resources. “The benefits of the System are multiple for the employees, the unemployed and the employers,” Panayides noted.
According to Panayides, the Authority has developed 72 Professional Qualifications Standards and at this stage individuals are examined and certified in the sectors of hotel and food industry, constructions, wholesale and retail trade and instructor training, whereas there will be a new examination soon on vehicle repairing, communication systems and networks, computers and hairdressing.

“Training the workforce in times of economic crisis is of primary importance for preventing and tackling unemployment and covering training needs in new skills and in existing or new professions” said HRDA Director General.

In 2013 the HRDA funded 3,127 training programs in Cyprus with the participation of 32,422 employees and 4,6 million euro budget. In the same year, the Authority subsidised 716 programs for the recruitment of young graduates with a total cost of 5,6 million euro. The Authority also subsidised 838 training programs on the fields of effective business management, finance, new technologies, green skills, renewable energy, security and health and specialised skills for different professions.

In total 10,145 employees took part in last year`s programs, with a cost of 3,9 million euro.

CNA/KD/GV/2014
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY

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