Indonesian Domestic Workers to Benefit from a Pilot Training Programme Kicking Off Next Year

December 19, 20164:20 pm580 views

Indonesian domestic workers planning to relocate abroad for work will benefit from a pilot training programme to be launched in February 2017. This programme aims to equip workers with new language skills and cultural knowledge before they are sent abroad. This will help them to be prepared for subsequent challenges upon migration, in foreign lands.

As a part of this new initiative, workers will have to undergo two-month training programme, before further specialising in key areas of interests, such as cooking and caring for children or the elderly. A government-linked body will test their competencies before certifying them for an overseas posting.

This move signals the fact, that the government of Indonesia is serious about skill upgradation of its domestic helpers. Mr Khairul Anwar, the Indonesia Manpower ministry’s director-general for training and productivity told the Straits Times, “It will be a basic model for the private sector to follow so as to raise the competence and quality of our workers.”

President Joko Widodo plans to professionalise the “informal employment” sector that domestic help is categorised as in Indonesia, uplift the social standards and improve the welfare of workers.

The labour authorities in the country have been considering various strategies to include workers living separately from employers in dormitories, and setting up a “one-door facility” to process the paperwork of workers. Employment agents, trainers of domestic workers and migrant activists in Singapore and Indonesia had mixed reactions to the new scheme.

Helen Tan, managing director of Contact Asia, welcomes the scheme and thinks this will help maintain minimum standards to raise language abilities and minimise communication problems between employers and workers.

Ms Anis Hidayah, executive director of Migrant Care, a local migrant group believes stronger government control on worker’s training and hiring would help quash the unofficial middlemen, who dupe women into provinces working as maids and saddle them with debts such as training, travelling and lodging costs.

Considering such training programmes have been long overdue, Hidayah says, “Businesses seek to make profits, so stringent certification (will) mean they cannot simply place out less-than-qualified workers.”

The Indonesian industry players are of an opinion that the government tends to over-regulate and the schemes are often not well implemented. Also some believe, the local officials taking over recruitment activities of domestic workers, brings in scope for corruption.

Some also think that this is a tall order by the government to expect the maids to study a foreign language and culture for two months without guaranteeing a job offer. After all these efforts, in the subsequent medical tests they might drop out and no employer would like to wait for two-months to employ a domestic worker anyway. What are your thoughts on this issue? Do write in to us with your feedback.

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