United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) provided employment opportunities to 150 at-risk youth as part of its COVID-19 response program in Kazakhstan. Young people, who lost their jobs to the pandemic, took part in a subsidised three-month apprenticeship programme, accompanied by soft skills trainings and mentorship support.
The apprentices were placed in private companies, NGOs and government agencies across the cities of Nur-Sultan, Almaty and Karagandy region. They were encouraged to try out a new profession and gain respective experience, while receiving a ₸60,000 monthly allowance. For three months, the companies were monitoring the apprentices and upon completion of the internship hired those who performed the best. 84 programme participants out of 150 were women, who also make up over 90 percent of the recipients of targeted social assistance in Kazakhstan.
“Covid-19 exposed pre-existing inequalities with vulnerable groups disproportionately hit by the pandemic and related restrictive measures. Women, people with disabilities, unemployed and self-employed are among the most affected. In our COVID response interventions we prioritise investments in overcoming various forms of disparities and inequalities focusing on developing enhanced capabilities of people and building community resilience,” said Yakup Beris, UNDP Resident Representative in Kazakhstan.
Altogether 25 mentors were selected and trained to work with vulnerable youth in the apprenticeship scheme. They , were responsible for hosting regular individual and group meetings with the youth, teaching them goal setting, self-discipline and teamwork skills. Participants also attended sessions on emotional intelligence and time management as well as COVID-19 related topics such as the need for anti-virus protection measures and remote work.
The initiative is part of a larger UNDP Kazakhstan strategy on youth engagement, which aims to contribute to their employability through reskilling and upskilling interventions, and strengthening their entrepreneurship skills, confidence, and employment-related resilience.