From left, Deputy Planning Minister for demography and employment Rahma Iryanti; Citi Indonesia country head for corporate affairs Elvera N. Makki, Indonesia Business Links acting executive director Mohamad Fahmi and vocational school headmaster Ginus Itaco Susi Sukaesih during a discussion about the economic empowerment of Indonesia's youth that took place at the Century Park Hotel in Senayan, South Jakarta, on Tuesday (08/08). (Photo courtesy of Citi Indonesia)

Citi Joins Hands With IBL to Help Young Indonesians Get Jobs, Become Entrepreneurs

BY :RATRI M. SINIWI

AUGUST 11, 2016

Jakarta. A program launched by Citi Indonesia, the local branch of New York-based banking giant Citibank, in collaboration with corporate citizenship resource center Indonesia Business Links, has gained the government's support and it is ready to inspire others to help the country's youth to become gainfully employed.

The Skilled Youth program, which was launched in June last year, trains young Indonesians – primarily vocational high school students in West Cikarang, Bekasi and Karawang on the outskirts of Jakarta – to develop skills that will enable them to secure jobs or become entrepreneurs.

The program is part of Citi Indonesia's corporate social responsibility program known as Citi Peduli dan BerKarya (Citi Cares and Creates).

"We had 491 students [in the program] and now 165 are employed, while 27 have become entrepreneurs," Indonesia Business Links (IBL) board chairman Heru Prasetyo said in a statement on Tuesday (09/08).

"In the wake of the [establishment of the] Asean Economic Community, competition in the labor market will become stiffer. If we don't improve the quality of our human resources, the unemployment rate in Indonesia will keep rising. We hope the collaboration between IBL and Citi Indonesia can inspire others in many different sectors to join forces to help curb the unemployment problem in Indonesia," he said.

A survey titled Accelerating Pathway – commissioned by the Citi Foundation and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit – showed that Jakarta's youth ranks high in terms of optimism for the future, but ranks low in terms of exploiting economic opportunities.

"Our youth is optimistic, but there is hardly any government support or institutional framework to allow these young people to work; Education and training opportunities for them also ranks very low in Jakarta," Heru added.

Meanwhile, Citi Indonesia chief executive Batara Sianturi said the program falls under the bank's vision of growth and progress, as it helps to develop the country's youth.

"About 78 percent of youths in Asia Pacific are highly interested in becoming entrepreneurs, and as Indonesia is a large, emerging market, corporations like us need to support our country's youths to help develop the country," the chief executive said.

The National Development Board (Bappenas) is also on board with the idea, especially due to the high number of opportunities to create entrepreneurs with a young population that is enthusiastic about the economic future.

"Indonesia is at an advantage as we have such a high youth demographic – but the issue of youth unemployment is urgent," Bappenas chief Bambang Brodjonegoro said. "They could become a liability, or an asset, and that depends on how we will support it."

Bamabang said Indonesia needs to become a country with an advanced economy by developing its national resources, mainly skilled labor.

"Entrepreneurs are important to develop, because it gives the government less work to create job opportunities. An entrepreneur does not need a job – he creates jobs," Bambang said.

He added that youth empowerment is essential to Indonesia's growth and development.

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