Update 25 November 2020: Do check out our closing report on Peluang Kerjaya here as we reflect back on what we have gleaned from this project!
Update 2 September 2020: We have learned tremendously through this experience. With the country now in the process of recovery and schools reopening since late July, we have stopped taking in new registrations for Peluang Kerjaya. We will be putting our focus to deliver on programs that have been promised with our grant funders for the remaining months of 2020.
Thank you to everyone that has been involved in helping adults regain employment.
When Generasi Gemilang launched Peluang Kerjaya, it was part of Projek Sinar 2.0 where we wanted to help adults who had lost their jobs during MCO (Movement Control Order) regain employment. From no job to a job. That was the premise. However, along the way, there were many roadblocks that made us re-think our approach and why it is not as simple as we originally thought.
One of the biggest challenges of Peluang Kerjaya was to connect the beneficiaries to a job, which is such an irony since that was the exact reason why Peluang Kerjaya was launched in the first place. At the beginning of July, our team searched extensively for job opportunities (both full time & part-time), guided candidates in preparing their resume for interviews, and encouraging them along the way. Yet, the available jobs did not seem to fit what the families were looking for. They preferred to have employment near (walking distance) to their community as many do not own any transport, or jobs with flexibility even if they earn unstable/infrequent, smaller amounts. In your mind, you must be thinking, shouldn't the beneficiaries be the ones who accommodate the job offered to them? Are they not desperate enough to want to improve their current circumstances? While all these are legitimate questions, the truth is, there's always a reason, but it may not be what we think. We found that the majority of these beneficiaries are resourceful people. Somehow, they can find sources of income, but the only problem is that these jobs may not pay enough to sustain their livelihood and savings for future needs. Imagine this, *Puan Alia's family member is sick, and she needed to go back and forth to take care of her family member in the hospital and also her children. As much as she wants to go for an interview to earn a stable income for her family, she was unable to! She needed a job arrangement that would allow her flexibility to attend to her family needs. Our team began to look at these individual situations with empathy, and the reality is that the beneficiaries do not have the luxury as many do. They need to work extra long hours just to earn that extra money to get them through the day or the next few days.
Through Peluang Kerjaya, we were able to expand our perspective on the situation of the beneficiaries. We have 30 registered candidates and we are happy to learn that so far 14 of them have secured some form of employment! We also determined that:
1) Since many families are resourceful in finding income streams on their own, we aim to support their efforts in standing on their own again.
2) B40 families prefer short-term, gig-economy types of jobs over traditional fixed income employment. Perhaps job referral programs targeted at the B40 would be more effective if the jobs are gig-economy centric. It will provide the flexibility that is needed by these candidates.
3) The increasing availability of upskilling and entrepreneurship training has the potential to solve the longer-term issue of poverty and social mobility faced by B40 families. This can be further supplemented by social policies or programs that help families address other barriers to employability such as the availability of affordable quality childcare and public transport access. As for now, we will refer and connect interested families with upskilling/entrepreneurship training providers.
*Beneficiary names have been changed to protect their identity.