The first youth employability services center opened in Ethiopia

A youth employability services (YES) centre addresses the need of young Ethiopians who migrate to different regions of the country and other countries in search of employment and livelihood.

Press release | Bahir Dar, Ethiopia | 19 June 2018
ILO News (Addis Ababa): A youth employability services (YES) centre, a first for Ethiopia starts to avail information to young Ethiopians on employment opportunities.

The YES centre, which was officially opened in Bahir Dar on the 9th of June 2018 is a joint initiative between the Government of Ethiopia and International Labour Organization (ILO) under the project ‘Stemming Irregular migration in Northern and Central Ethiopia’ (SINCE) implemented by the Italian Embassy in Ethiopia and funded by the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa. The YES Centre is being operationalised in collaboration with the Amhara Regional Bureaus of Finance and Economic Development, Labour and Social Affairs, Technical, Vocational and Educational and Development and Youth and Sports.

The YES centre, will be a source of information on employment opportunities and labour market demands for the unemployed youth, university and TVET graduates, and potential migrants will benefit from this Centre.

Mr. George Okutho, Director of ILO Addis explained the rationale behind establishing a youth centre, “Young Ethiopians often migrate from rural to urban areas and onward to outside the country, in search for employment and livelihoods, in particular to the Middle East countries and Europe. In response to this problem, the Government of Ethiopia, with technical support from the ILO has established the YES Centre in Bahir Dar.”

Mr. Okutho appreciated the generous support of the European Union and Italy in the initiation of this project. He assured of ILO’s commitment to support the Centre in developing a range of employment services for job seekers.

Mr. Pierpaolo Bergamini, SINCE Programme Coordinator of the Embassy of Italy stated: “The inauguration of the Youth Employability Services (YES) centre in Bahir Dar is an important pilot initiative that aims to improve and give more effectiveness to the Public Employment Services (PES). The youth will take advantage of a public service that actively engages companies and which will facilitate the search for employment for the young generation”.

Mr Belay Zeleke, Deputy Manager, Bureau of Technical, Vocational, Enterprise and Development, Amhara Region expressed his hope that the centre will provide better services for the youth to access job vacancies easily. “So far our office, in collaboration with ILO, will ensure that the centre is well equipped with the necessary personnel as well as equipment in order to facilitate the services provided by the centre.”

The main activities of the YES Centre will be:
Job placement;
Career guidance and job placement for unemployed;
Referral and information centre for the various services and programs of the Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs, Polytechnic and Vocational colleges.
Elena Ruiz Roman, EU-EUTF programme manager, further said that, "This is an exciting time, as the SINCE project reaches one of its milestones with the opening of the first YES centre in the country. Finding a job in Ethiopia is a time-consuming and an expensive business for the majority of people, due to the lack of appropriate centres. The YES is designed to provide, amongst others, job counselling assistance, training, access to labour market information and skills, skills needed among young Ethiopians to find, secure and maintain meaningful and decent employment."

According to the Youth Development Index, Ethiopia stood at 0.55 in 2015 with a rank of 131 out of 183 countries placing it in the medium range. The existing situation regarding youth population presents both a challenge and an opportunity, whereby 71% of the Ethiopian population is under the age of 30. The unemployment numbers according to the 2013 CSA’s National labour force survey, show that the overall National unemployment rate stood at 4.5%. Studies indicate that there are approximately three million young Ethiopians entering the labour force every year.

International Labor Organization (ILO) is implementing the project “Addressing the root causes of migration in Ethiopia” to strengthen the provision of national employment services with emphasis on youth employment to aid the young potential migrants in making informed choices about their migration often carried out through irregular channel.