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New agreement includes internships for 40,000 young people

The Senegalese trade union organisation UDTS has been working for years, specifically on improving the employability of young people. The active youth committee of the union took the lead in working intensively with a number of other unions and the government to improve the approach to youth unemployment. 

An important success is the new CNEE agreement, between the government and employers, the Conventions Nationale État-Employeurs. 

The agreement is that this programme will eventually provide internships for 40,000 young graduates.  

In this programme, the government works together with the private sector to increase the employability of young people through internships and retraining.  

This is necessary because there is a lot of hidden unemployment among the youth. Many young people try to make a living out of informal work. But they do not earn enough to make a living out of it. Many young people also work below their educational level.

In July 2021, 72 partnerships with companies were signed, providing 1,374 young people with work placements or (temporary) employment contracts. The companies involved are from the agri-food, construction, communication or ICT sectors.

Previous government programmes to tackle youth unemployment got off to a slow start. They did not succeed in getting enough young people into work. But thanks to constant lobbying by UDTS and other trade unions and intensive cooperation with the government, a new Convention was formed and better results were achieved in 2021.  

In July, for example, 72 partnerships with companies were signed, as a result of which 1,374 young people were given work placements or (temporary) employment contracts. The companies involved are from the agri-food, construction, communication or ICT sectors.

The young people from the UDTS trade union took the lead in drawing up a plan with the government and employers on internships and retraining. In this way, they are working to increase the employability of young people.

More budget for employment

The joint trade unions' strategy consisted of a mix of research, youth leadership training, lobbying and advocacy. The young people of the UDTS played an important role in this, with the support of CNV Internationaal. Job opportunities and a good future for young people are a priority for trade unions and government.  

An important result of the trade unions' lobby is also that the government is now freeing up much more resources for this. The budget for the convention has grown from one billion CFA francs (equivalent to just over €150,000) to 20 billion CFA francs (approximately €30.5 million).  

The new Convention consists of six programmes and is thus an important instrument for the implementation of the national youth employment policy. In addition to these programmes, there are other employment programmes for young people and women in Senegal. The Prodac programme (Programme National des Domaines Agricoles Communautaires) promotes employment of young people and women in the agricultural sector. The DER Délégation générale à l'Entreprenariat Rapide des Femmes et Jeunes) promotes the entrepreneurial capacities of young people and women. There is also the programme of the National Employment Agency for Young People (ANPEJ).

Early 2022, the young Senegalese influencer Ninou took to the streets to talk to the youth about work and internships.  

Watch and listen to the stories of Matou, Adama and Yacine.

EMPLOYABILITY

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Publication date 12 04 2022