i-Ready: Providing graduates with real world experience

Businesses and unemployed graduates looking to sign up with the apprenticeship programme – here’s what you need to know

The Manpower Policy and Planning Unit (MMPU) of the Energy and Industry Department at the Prime Minister’s Office (EIDPMO) recently reviewed job openings in Brunei requiring at least a degree and above.

Their findings: at least 50 per cent required minimum three years working experience.

It’s a problem not unique to Brunei – reports of unemployment amongst graduates have been emerging in developing and developed countries alike.

At the opening of the 13th Legislative Council session earlier this week, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam announced the establishment of an apprenticeship programme – i-Ready – that specifically focuses on increasing employability and marketability of unemployed graduates so as to be ready for the industry.

Calling graduates still searching for employment

As of March 4, there are 12,966 unemployed locals registered in JobCentre Brunei – out of which 2,328 who currently have a degree and above qualification.

i-Ready, is open to citizens and permanent residents, is targeting apprenticeships for 1,562 graduates; each lasting three years with a monthly allowance of BND 800 sponsored by the government.

During or after the apprenticeship, the host organization has the first right to take on the graduate to be a full-time employee.

Contributions will also be made towards the graduate’s Employees Trust Fund (TAP) and Supplemental Contributory Pension (SCP).

To sign up for i-Ready, applicants need to be registered in JobCentre Brunei (JCB), which requires an e-Darussalam account which can be activated at JCB – located at the old BINA building in the Beribi Industrial Area.

Once registered, graduates will be able to filter i-Ready apprenticeship opportunities in real-time through the JobCentre website at www.jobcentrebrunei.gov.bn

There is no age limit, and no minimum period for the graduate to be unemployed before they sign up for an apprenticeship.

Before signing onto the apprenticeship, graduates will be interviewed before a panel comprising of the host organization and MPPU.

Businesses and organizations invited to sign up

First priority will be given to organizations who can provide a conditional offer of employment opportunities for i-Ready graduates either during or after the apprenticeship is complete.

Companies looking to take on apprentices will first have to sign up on www.jobcentrebrunei.gov.bn before submitting their demands to mppu@jpm.gov.bn.

The host organization will have to outline how many slots they are looking to take on – as well the specific job title and description for the graduate – which will be reviewed before being posted online on JCB.

During the apprenticeship, a progress report on graduates’ respective performance will be shared with MPPU every six months on the graduate is to be shared with MPPU, which details the tasks and targets as well as professional development of the graduate.

Resolving graduate unemployment and providing companies skilled manpower to further their growth

The Head of MPPU Hjh Zainab M. A. Omar said i-Ready was designed to provide a ‘win-win’ situation for unemployed graduates without experience – and organizations looking for graduates with experience.

“What is key is that the graduates experience a real, authentic working environment where they can grow and contribute,” said Hjh Zainab. “This will improve their marketability and employability so that during or after the programme they will find suitable employment. And for the hosts, it is an opportunity to contribute to reducing unemployment in Brunei and also part of their corporate social responsibility in manpower capability development.”

She added that MPPU is actively encouraging and socializing to the private and public sectors to submit their demands for i-Ready– which has targeted April 1 as a starting date for successful candidates.