31. Madam Speaker, I will now elaborate on our policies to chart the first pathway which is to enhance employability.
32. Our young people need the opportunity and the means to access the labour market, broaden their career aspirations and pursue their personal dream.
33. To this end, I am earmarking Rs 1 billion to target some 14,000 unemployed. The following measures form part of our comprehensive approach to tackle youth unemployment.
• First, some 3,000 youths will join the National Skills Development Programme (NSDP) for technical training. To further enhance this scheme, we are integrating a new component, the Youth Service Programme (YSP), for an initial batch of 1,000 young adults aged 17 to 25. The YSP will develop such soft skills as team building, discipline, communication and work ethics to improve their employability;
The YSP will be launched under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth and Sports;
Henceforth, all successful trainees under the NSDP will be awarded a ‘Certificat de Compétence’. This will give them a sense of achievement and make it easier for them to get a job;
• Second, another 3,000 unemployed will be enrolled in the National Apprenticeship Programme run by the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development (MITD);
• Third, we are deeply conscious of the essential role of our SMEs in the economy. They underlie the entrepreneurial spirit of our nation, a spirit which we want to inculcate to the next generation;
• In order to instil in our graduates this entrepreneurial spirit while supporting the development of our SMEs, we are introducing an unprecedented measure – the SME Employment Scheme which will target some 1,000 graduates;
• Under this Scheme, the HRDC will pay each graduate a monthly stipend of Rs 14,000 over a period of two years of employment. The employer will pay the monthly travelling costs;
• And finally, the Youth Employment Programme (YEP) will now cater for post HSC unemployed and put some 3,500 youngsters in job placements.
Promoting Work at Home
34. Madam Speaker, our path to a high-income economy will rest on productivity. And to raise productivity we must go beyond the traditional workspace. Accordingly, we are introducing a Work@Home Scheme.
35. The Government will allow for a double deduction from tax, of the wage and salary costs of employees under the Work@Home for the first two years.
36. In addition, employers under that scheme will be granted an annual tax credit of 5 percent for three years on investment in the required IT system.
37. Madam Speaker, we are targeting some 3,500 new job opportunities under that scheme and I am sure that this initiative will empower more women to join the labour force.
38. In an era of rapid change, our workforce needs to continuously upskill itself.
39. This is equally true for public servants. We are, therefore, investing some Rs 160 million in the construction of the Civil Service College at Réduit.