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Build Bhutan Project (BBP) and Desuung- Skilling program

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

The prohibition on the entry of foreign workers resulted in a significant manpower shortage after COVID-19 influenced several sectors of the nation's economy, particularly the construction sector in 2020. In the nation's construction industry, there was a considerable demand for foreign labourers. Both skilled and unskilled immigrant labourers were in short supply in the nation. On the other hand, the pandemic's effects on the economy led to the displacement of a sizeable section of the domestic workforce.

Courtesy Businessbhutan.

With a budget expenditure of Nu 1.04 billion, the Build Bhutan Project was then introduced on July 1st, 2020, along with the Economic Contingency Plan document.

The project aimed to employ roughly 1,000 jobless, laid-off, and expatriate workers in the construction industry.

The project served as one of the main pillars of the economic contingency plan, which was created to address unemployment and layoffs by bridging the gap left by the coronavirus pandemic in the construction industry. To encourage Bhutanese to engage in the construction industry for the project, the government introduced a provident fund and a competitive wage package.

Courtesy BBS

A person ready to work in the construction industry was offered a minimum monthly salary of $13,200 as part of what is considered an acceptable compensation package. Under the Build Bhutan Project's incentive program, 15% PF and 15% monthly wage top-ups were also included in the offer.

The labour ministry wanted to use the project to organize, develop, and manage a pool of competent workers and advertise the construction industry as a desirable source of employment in the nation.

Three of the 18 specialized enterprises and groups that BBP focused on were from the six occupational categories: steel fabrication, plumbing, carpentry, electrical-house wiring, masonry, and building painting. They assisted specialist groups in forming and growing until they were well-established and competitive in the building sector.

The project officially ended in July this year and was able to employ only 4000 youths, although their target was to employ about 7000 people. The Ministry of Labor and Human Resources still offers construction-related skill-building programs through its village- and ministry-wide skill-development initiatives.

The Desuung skilling program

Who are the desuups?

In Bhutan, dessuup is the highest level of voluntary action. In the event of calamities, during philanthropic endeavours, and to assist in crowd control during festivals and festivities, volunteers will be immediately identifiable by their orange uniforms. The word "De" (bde) gets its first syllable from the word "Dekyid," which means tranquillity or peace. "De" is typically thought of as the abbreviation for Dekyid. Guarding or protecting is a popular term for the second syllable of "Suung" (Srung). Consequently, "De-Suung" translates to "Guardians of Peace”. Volunteers from various spheres of life make up Desuups. The orange uniform unites all Bhutanese, from college graduates to top government officials, and fosters a strong sense of community.

Numerous young Desuups joined the de-suung initiative to volunteer for crucial tasks including crowd management, service delivery, and border patrols during a trying moment for the country. So, His Majesty the King of Bhutan directed that, in return for the extraordinary services that the de-suups provided, the state should give the youth chances to improve their skills and capacities so they can take an active part in the process of creating the nation.

Courtesy Kunsel.

The De-Suung Skilling Programme (DSP) is a collection of numerous short-term, accelerated training sessions led by local and international specialists that are tailored for Bhutanese youth and place a strong emphasis on practical, hands-on skilling. The purpose of implementing such a program was to help the youth enhance their talents so that they would not only be employable but also contribute to addressing the nation's unemployment problem by becoming employers themselves.

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