Monday, 27 September 2021 | 05:01 WIB

Citi Indonesia and IBL Host Dialog to Address Youth Employment amid COVID-19

Citibank Country Head of Corporate Affairs Puni A Anjungsari (special)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) of Indonesia says at least 1.7 million people have been sent home and experience layoffs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Young workers are among those affected.

In response to this, Indonesia Business Links (IBL) and Citi Indonesia (Citibank) initiated a series of Partnership Forum activities in the form of a dialogue forum for stakeholders to contribute to overcoming youth unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan is for the Partnership Forum to run until its fifth series, with closing activities that produce key recommendations for the government to help resolve the conditions of youth employment in the country. This series of discussions are part of the Skilled Youth Program with support from the Citi Foundation, which focuses on providing financial independence and education for Indonesia's young generation.

Director of Manpower and Expansion of Employment Opportunities at Bappenas Mahatmi Parwitasari Saronto said: "To overcome unemployment due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to have smart practices that provide opportunities for young Indonesians to have work and entrepreneurial skills by providing appropriate expertise for youth to be more productive."

Citibank Country Head of Corporate Affairs Puni A Anjungsari said: "Based on research recently conducted by UNDP through the Youth Co: Lab program funded by the Citi Foundation, it is seen that more than 84 percent of young entrepreneurs affected by the pandemic have made various innovations and develop a support system through various young entrepreneurial social networks. Therefore, let us continue to be optimistic and spread enthusiasm to the youth because they are the wheels of the nation's economy."

Overall, the Skilled Youth Program has succeeded in providing positive benefits and impacts to more than 2,275 young people in industrial estates until its fourth year of implementation.

This program is also part of the Citi Foundation's global commitment to "Pathways to Progress" which aims to have a positive impact on 500,000 young people globally, including in Indonesia.

Focusing on West Java as a target area, the Skilled Youth Program has been implemented through a collaboration between Citi Indonesia and non-profit organization Indonesia Business Links (IBL) - as program implementer, as well as five local governments: Bekasi District and Municipality, Karawang Regency, Purwakarta Regency, and Bandung Regency.

During the implementation period, the Stage IV Skilled Youth Program embraced young people by presenting a series of activities in a planned manner - which included financial literacy, character and behavior strengthening, technical and entrepreneurial skills training, as well as job search assistance and business mentoring.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with face-to-face restrictions imposed in several program areas, Citibank and IBL continue to complete the Skilled Youth Program, which is then continued through digital platforms.

In its implementation, the program also involves various parties, including training institutions, government, local businesses, communities, and of course Citibank, in order to create conducive environment for the empowerment of young people.

One of the Skilled Youth Program participants from Purwakarta Regency, Alma Ferbyana, admitted to getting new insights that really helped her develop a confectionary production business.

“Through Soft Skill Training, I learned how to handle customer complaints and how to manage emotions. This is very useful for responding to customer complaints that have different characters. Not only that, I have experienced self-development through a number of other trainings, such as product photography techniques, story telling and digital marketing. These new skills encourage me to be more creative in marketing products and approaching the market," Alma said.