Workshop on the Development of Vocational Activities for Adolescents in West Manggarai

The world is currently facing a crisis of youth unemployment. In several countries worldwide, the risk of unemployment among adolescents is more than three times higher than that of adults. Efforts to create job opportunities for adolescents are not only an adequate solution. At present, adolescents not only face difficulties and the sustained challenge of finding employment but also encounter challenges in obtaining jobs that are suitable and dignified.

Adolescents possess potential energy, talent, and creativity, which are valuable assets to our economy and should not be overlooked. Both globally and in Indonesia, adolescents, both female and male, contribute significantly as workers, entrepreneurs, and productive consumers. They also play roles as members of civil society and crucial agents of change. The actions taken by adolescents today will form the foundation for economic development in the future.

However, the inadequacy of decent and sustainable employment makes adolescents, along with the surrounding community, highly vulnerable. The youth unemployment crisis is not only an integral part of the overall employment situation but also has specific dimensions. In Indonesia, the challenge is to create job opportunities for thousands of adolescents entering the labor market every year. Additionally, the challenge involves finding decent employment for young people, especially those working in the agricultural sector or the informal sector in urban areas with lower wages.

Statistical data from West Manggarai Regency in 2022 provides an in-depth understanding of the unemployment rate, the labor force, and the participation rate. In 2021, there was an increase in the unemployment rate from 3.72% in 2020 to 4.94%. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate experienced a significant decrease from 78.52% in 2020 to 73.18% in 2021.

Further analysis of the Dependency Ratio data indicates an average rate of 46.60% in West Manggarai Regency. This fact reflects a relatively high economic burden on the economically productive population, where they have to support more economically unproductive individuals.
In the context of elaborating labor force data by age, it can be observed that the average participation rate of the labor force aged 18-29 is only 43%. Meanwhile, the average labor force aged 30-50 shows a relatively high participation rate, reaching 74.95%. On the other hand, the average labor force aged 51-61 shows a participation rate of 77.06%.

This data provides a comprehensive overview of the economic dynamics of West Manggarai Regency, highlighting changes in the unemployment rate, labor force participation, and distribution of work participation by age range. The current conditions indicate a significant lack of adequate employment in West Manggarai Regency. Therefore, through the collaboration between Gugah Nurani Indonesia West Manggarai CDP and the Department of Labor, Transmigration, Cooperatives, and SMEs of West Manggarai, they have initiated a Vocational Development Workshop. This workshop is an integral part of efforts to stimulate entrepreneurship interest among adolescents and young people aged 18-30 in high schools and villages in the areas focused on by Gugah Nurani Indonesia West Manggarai CDP.
This is in line with one of Gugah Nurani Indonesia's Medium and Long-Term Strategic Plans, namely: Increased Entrepreneurial Skills Among Youth In The Community. One of its activities is through the enhancement of soft and hard skills through Vocational Training, which will collaborate with Government Institutions and other relevant stakeholders for high school graduates who cannot continue to higher education and school dropouts. This program aims to prepare the younger generation to enter the job market through cooperation with companies and to prepare children to become quality entrepreneurs.

This activity has been implemented in West Manggarai. It took place from November 7, 2023, to December 2, 2023, in six locations: SMKN 1 Kuwus, SMAN 1 Kusu, Compang Suka Village, Pangga Village, Suka Kiong Village, and Golo Pua Village.

Many students stated that after completing high school, they would choose to work even though they had not yet determined the sector they wanted to work in. The Village Government also responded quite responsively to the job challenges for young people.

Considering the above overview, the efforts of all parties to reduce the number of unemployed in the productive workforce pose a challenge for everyone. Therefore, several strategic steps need to be taken immediately, namely:
  1. Creation of new job opportunities through the strengthening and development of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in the village
  2. Empowering Village Owned Enterprises business units as an economic engine in the village.
  3. Improving workforce skills through competency-based training at the Training and Skills Center.
  4. Strengthening an open labor market information system.
  5. Enhancing the agricultural and livestock sectors in the village as a support for tourism needs in Labuan Bajo.
  6. Developing new tourist spots according to the village's potential as part of fostering an entrepreneurial spirit in the village.

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