Date: Wed, 15 Oct 97 14:19:25 CDT
From: rich@pencil (Rich Winkel)
Subject: Poor Chilean Youth Sapped
/** econ.saps: 226.0 **/
** Topic: IPS:Poor Chilean Youth Sapped **
** Written 8:15 AM Oct 13, 1997 by dgap in cdp:econ.saps **
Copyright 1997 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.
Unemployment Looms for Juvenile Dropouts
By Gustavo Gonzalez, IPS
8 October 1997
SANTIAGO, Oct 8 (IPS) - There was a time when unskilled workers
could always count on a job in Chile - working in seasonal jobs in
agriculture, crop pickers or as shift workers , loading and
unloading rail and road transports or performing other menial
tasks. With the rise of a capital-intensive economy in Chile,
those days have gone.
Lack of professional skills, work experience and professional
titles and a shortage of jobs are some of the reasons why 35
percent of all poor young people in Chile are unemployed. The
growth in juvenile unemployment in recent years remains a worry to
the government of Eduardo Frei, especially because so many
unemployed young people are among the poorest.
Chile has an unemployment rate of 6.5 percent, but this figure
is nearly tripled in the case of the 16-24 year old group and has
become one of the greatest obstacles to eradicating poverty.
For many teenagers between 14 and 19 it is difficult to remain
in school, usually because of family ptreswsure to earn money.
For the youth aged between 20 and 24 years it is difficult to
enter the labor market because they don't have the qualifications
or experience needed.
In an effort to overcome the problem, the government created a
training programme for young people called "Young Chile,"
directed at youth who left school and want to work. It is
estimated that 60 percent of the 55,000 young people have gone
through this programme have found decent jobs, because they also
had the opportunity to study.
The government believes it has produced a favorable situation
for employment, as much for women as for youth, even with
inequalities which are impossible to reduce while there are not
Various studies indicate that a series of factors exist that
make entering the job market more difficult for youth and women.
In the case of young people, it is necessary to form good work
habits, and to help them with drug addiction and alcoholism, which
directly affect the poorest sectors of the population who are more
vulnerable to pressure through the lack of job prospects.
Daniel Ponce, 25, left school about 10 years ago. Today he
finds "It is very hard. I have applied for thousands of jobs,
from laboring to sweeping the streets but for all of these jobs,
they want someomne with at least a fourth grade in middle school
education. When they find out I don't have one I don't get the
Women are particularly affected, not only through lack of
qualifications and low wages, but because they also confront the
problem of child care - in cases where single mother and female
heads of households must work to support their families.
The Frei government also is developing programs for women,
"Boss of the House," allowing some 10,000 women who have been
trained there to enter the work force.
Carola Salas, 18, said the government courses "are a great
help to young people of few resources who could not pay to go to
university, because without a degree it is very hard to find
Many young people affected by unemployment also think it is
hard to find work without adequate studies of needed experience.
"It's very hard to find a job," said Pablo Troncoso, 22. Last
year I finished the fourth level of middle school and I don't have
any degree or experience in anything."
The fourth level is the last grade in middle school in Chile,
which also has eight grades for primary school.
Luis Martinez, 20 and unemployed, recalls his experience: "I
finished studying last year and I have been searching everywhere.
I have had four jobs up until now. In each one, they demand that
you have experience or higher studies."
[c] 1997, InterPress Third World News Agency (IPS)
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