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The real reasons for unemployment

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Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

We always ask the question: ‘Why do we have to study?’ The answer is: ‘for a better future and a great career.’

Some people say they do not need to study hard. They just rely on their fellow students and believe they are not able to compete with others, while others may blame the education system for not adequately preparing them for a job in a competitive market.

What problems are they facing? Are they competitive enough?

“There are three main factors that lead students to collide head-on with obstacles upon graduation,” says Thoung Keo Bunnate, planning officer at the Phnom Penh Municipal Department of Education, Youth and Sport.

“First and foremost, what they get from a university rather than another and from the program they choose, is quite different. Second, it can depend on the self-capacity they develop. Some students do not have sufficient skill or language proficiency. This is the reason why they lose on job opportunity. Third, because the local job market is still limited, high qualifications are needed. Any job requires years of experience.”

Unable to find a job, they cannot find any work experience and gain professional credibility before graduation, which leads them to fail interviews.

“I have no confidence at all,” says Oul Vannet, 21, a sophomore student at Phnom Penh International University.

“Whenever I feel like working in such or such position, I am not bothered to do it. I do not apply. I always think that I am not qualified yet even though it is not a well-paid job whereas most of my friends apply for that. I can be quite indecisive.”

Vannet found out that some of her friends found a job after graduation but the vast majority still deal with unemployment or low-paid jobs. She hopes for a different life path.

People always challenge one other to make their dreams come true. Opportunity is one thing and capability and qualification are another. Self-confidence fosters opportunities.

“I have graduated with a university diploma,” says Sin Nimol, 24, a former student from the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

“I do not discriminate between job options. I think sometime people should be humble and be grateful of what they have. I have adopted tolerance which I find to be the best way to reach my goals.”  

“Besides knowledge and willingness, job experience is what tips the scales in job interviews when we recruit new staff members at The Plantation,” says Theng Youheang, Human Resources Coordinator of The Plantation (Urban, Resort, & Spa).

However, she chooses only people with a proven track record. She can give the chance to young daring and willing young people with no previous experiences to prove themselves. She wants to give the chance to the next generation as well as to students in need of a job.

Many still believe Cambodia’s job market is not easy to penetrate, as they could not find any suitable job for the university program they did. But is this really true?

“A combination of factors reinforce this problem,” says Thong Keo Bunnate.

“At the moment, we can see that Cambodia’s education system generally functions well and provides students with the training they need despite some discrepancies between regions and institutions.  

Thong Keo Bunnate expects a much more dynamic market by 2015. The chance of landing the right a job will have greatly increased then.

To adapt to this forthcoming change, students have to strengthen their language proficiency and become computer literate so as to be ready for the world of tomorrow in Asia.  

A good job matching our goal demands strong commitment in school. Part-time work, volunteering and interning are real professional practices highly valued and considered by recruiters.

We always have to start somewhere.

Confidence, tolerance and humility are qualities which will help you walk that extra mile to land this dream job.

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