Youth unemployment is reaching dramatic proportions, with multiple social consequences. The main causes of this phenomenon are based on the following factors:
- The small size of the economic fabric, and therefore of the job offer, in the face of an ever-increasing demand for employment;
- The need for a directly operational workforce by companies, in the face of a training system that is still not well adapted to the real needs of the labour market;
- The insufficient exploitation of employment and self-employment opportunities in our country;
It has been noted that nearly 70% of young people who enter the labour market have no qualifications in terms of profession. Moreover, the public service, which in the past provided a social solution to this problem by massively absorbing young people, now has limited means.
Companies, for their part, see the creation of jobs not as a solution to a social issue, but as a way of finding profitable production tools.
Faced with this situation, it is urgent to react by proposing adapted solutions to enable young people to be integrated into the production system. However, the Government has could not just stay cross arms. Through the National Employment Fund (NEF), it has designed and implemented a set of specific tools for youth employment, including the Graduated Employment Programme (PED), with a set of incentive measures. This pre-employment programme, based on the sharing (50/50) of the costs of allowances paid to trainees by the NEF and the company, has so far enabled more than 3,400 young graduates to be inserted into the production circuit. It has benefited from the participation of several large-scale structures in the public, semi-public and private sectors.
The PREJ (Youth Employment Retire Programme), another programme being launched by the NEF, is part of the same logic. It consists of placing a young person in an apprenticeship alongside an employee at the end of his or her career (retirement), to enable the company to ensure continuity of employment and an optimal transfer of skills to the position concerned, which is a guarantee of increased productivity.
Another component of the NEF's fight against youth unemployment is support for self-employment and the creation of micro-enterprises. Today, this component has made it possible to support 27,978 projects generating 48,480 jobs. In order to further support the development of the projects financed, the NEF has developed the "Microenterprise Sponsorship Programme" for heads of larger enterprises. This programme, called "MICROPAR", aims to help microenterprise promoters to better ensure the development of their businesses thanks to "the helping hand of an elder to a younger brother". The aim is to foster a spirit of citizenship among business leaders and to increase their commitment to the fight against youth unemployment.
The PED and PREJ enable companies to offer an economic solution for hiring young people. MICROPAR gives companies the opportunity to play an important social role by serving as a locomotive for young entrepreneurs, while at the same time taking advantage of their flexibility. These three programmes should be made more dynamic and cost-effective by stimulating the civic spirit of enterprises within the framework of a Youth Employment Programme (PEJ). Public, para-public and mixed enterprises should play a leading role in this programme.
This programme aims to integrate young people into the production circuit, particularly graduates without professional experience, in search of employment on the one hand, and on the other, to support young business promoters.
It is based both on an economic approach (productivity requirement) and on an approach of national cohesion and solidarity through the spirit of corporate citizenship, giving these young people a chance to acquire a profession and thus increase their chances of professional integration, while benefiting from an income for some, and for others to ensure a good development of their business.
The PEJ is based on three different programmes: two programmes to support integration into salaried employment: the PED (Graduate Employment Programme) and PREJ (Youth Employment Retirement Programme) programmes; and a programme to support microenterprises in the start-up phase: the MICROPAR (Microenterprise Sponsorship Programme)
1. THE PED
The PED, a pre-employment internship programme, within the specific framework of the PED, allows its recipient to carry out a training course of 6 to 24 months in a company. During this period, he/she learns a profession under the supervision of a company tutor. The duration will depend on the company, the profession and the specific constraints of the activity.
During the training period, an allowance is paid to the trainee. The NEF and the company each bear 50% of the costs of this allowance. In addition, the company is asked to bear the trainee's transport costs.
If, at the end of the traineeship, the trainee is selected, the NEF bears 50% of the trainee's basic salary for a maximum of three months.
In addition, the employer who receives a trainee under the PED is exempted from paying taxes on the traineeship costs.
2. THE PREJ
The PREJ programme aims to integrate young graduates into the company, to replace people who are due to retire, or people who directly or indirectly have to leave their posts to replace these retirees; and this in strict compliance with the company's human resources management policy.
The NEF bears 50% of the remuneration paid to the candidate during the first twelve months, according to a pre-established scale.
In addition, the employer who receives a trainee under the PREJ is exempted from paying taxes on the allowances paid during the period of the traineeship.
The scope of these programmes may also include mass employment.
MICROPAR" was designed to help microenterprises to better ensure their development through the support of an entrepreneur (the Sponsor) by developing a "big brother to little brother" relationship. The aim was to encourage a spirit of citizenship and to involve business leaders in a greater commitment to the fight against youth unemployment. Thus its objectives are: "to strengthen the development of microenterprises financed by the NEF thanks to the support - supervision - advice of a sponsor who is the head of a relatively larger, and therefore more experienced, enterprise. "In general, the programme aims to encourage the heads of "senior companies" to play a role as a driving force in the process of promoting microentrepreneurship, thus giving young promoters a chance to achieve their dreams and become, why not, the leaders of tomorrow.
The Sponsor offers the promoter of the sponsored microenterprise a certain amount of technical and possibly financial support to sustain the development and growth of the young enterprise.
4. Benefits of these three programmes for enterprises and job seekers
4.1 . The PED
This programme allows companies to :
- Provide the future employee with experience and an in-house mindset at a lower cost; evaluate the candidate over a long period before a possible final recruitment (without prior commitment); benefit from tax advantages (exemption from paying taxes on internship fees);
and to job seekers,
- the PED allows them to acquire training in a practical profession at the same time as gaining experience in a company. It should be noted here that the chance for the young person to be permanently recruited by the company that trained him/her is significant. The retention rate is currently around 93% overall.
4.2 . The PREJ
In addition to the advantages of the PED, the PREJ enables companies to ensure continuity of employment and an optimal transfer of skills to the position concerned, which is a guarantee of productivity gains; and the job seeker is assured of a job in the event of a successful placement.
MICROPAR allows companies to have the satisfaction, beyond their classic activities, of contributing in a much more social way to the fight against unemployment and poverty in our country.
It gives microenterprise promoters the opportunity to benefit from the experience of an elder, and other forms of support - supervision - advice that the latter can provide to ensure the development of their enterprise.
5. Implementation of the PED
This programme has already started in its salaried employment component (PED and PREJ) with the NSIF, which has recruited 19 young graduates in the legal and tax consultancy profession.
Its implementation includes the following phases:
For the salaried employment component:
- - Raising the awareness of companies;
- - Analysis of the needs of companies;
- - Signing of partnership agreements;
- - Selection of candidates;
- - Placing the beneficiaries on work placements;
- - Monitoring and evaluation.
For the MICROPAR component :
- - Raising awareness among companies;
- - Finding the sponsor;
- - Signing tripartite partnership agreements (sponsor - NEF - sponsored);
- - Monitoring and evaluation of the programme.
6. Launch period
The launch of this programme is scheduled for 13 November 2007 in Douala, following a NEF-Enterprise meeting forum
Conditions for success
The success of the PEJ depends on the existence of a favourable environment and the taking into account of a certain number of elements and prior arrangements. For the salaried employment component, these are essentially
The civic commitment of companies, in short a strong will of the national community to contribute to the resolution of youth unemployment;
The availability of funding for the programme;
The establishment of an effective monitoring committee;
Good communication with partners.
and for the MICROPAR component of :
a good coupling (sponsor - sponsored) in relation to the potential needs of both parties and their potential to develop synergies;
the commitment and seriousness of the sponsor;
the commitment and seriousness of the sponsored party;
a good follow-up of the Programme's progress
The implementation of this pact will have a series of positive effects on companies, on recipients and, in general, on the socio-economic environment:
The response to their human resources problems: the observation of candidates during the internship period allows them to choose in a more objective and motivated way those who adapt to their requirements,
Increased productivity due to the arrival of new blood in the company,
The increase in business activity due to the knock-on effects,
The feeling of satisfaction of being a good corporate citizen contributing to the resolution of an essential problem in our society.
For the recipients
The acquisition of skills and professional experience,
The insertion into the production circuit of many candidates,
The feeling of being useful in society through their contribution to the production of national wealth,
The acquisition of an income to meet basic needs and ensure their independence.
The assurance of better conditions for the development of their enterprise (for the promoters benefiting from MICROPAR)
On the socio-economic level
Reduction of unemployment,
The reduction of poverty,
The reduction of delinquency,
Increased consumption due to income redistribution. This has a direct impact on the increase in business activity and the need for human resources,
The improvement of the economic situation,
The recovery of investments.
Estimated budget for the first year
In its launch phase (first year), this programme will benefit 1,000 young people in salaried employment and 30 promoters of start-up microenterprises. In this first phase, it will cost CFAF 1,230,500,000, distributed as follows
NEF's share: 580,250,000 CFA francs
and the partner companies' share: 650,250,000 CFA francs
The detailed budget is available at NEF