THE government will continue to fund young university graduates, the labour ministry has said, and it will also introduce a similar scheme for school graduates.
Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said they would be extending a scheme currently in place for some 2,500 university graduates who may gain work experience for six months in the private or state sector.
They get a monthly allowance of €500, travel expenses and social insurance covered. Employers are not obliged to pay any additional wages.
Emilianidou said the government aimed at seeing a further 2,500 participate in the scheme from March 2014 onwards. The hope was that if and when job positions opened up, the work experience would help the graduates be employed, she said.
She added that because high school graduates up to the age of 25 faced “serious employment problems” they were looking to announce next month a similar scheme to target that group.
Some 40.3 per cent of the under-25s were unemployed in the second quarter of 2013, while about a third of all the unemployed in Cyprus have had higher education, according to Cyprus’ statistical services.
Emilianidou said they would be ready to announce next month a project to fund 70 per cent of the payroll of some or all of the employees working in small businesses with staff of four or fewer people.
The schemes, along with others, are being funded by some €27 million set aside as part of moves to constrain unemployment levels. About 80 per cent of that amount hails from EU funds.
Authorities expect to implement a new welfare system from July 1, 2014 onwards to target allowances and benefits. A Guaranteed Minimum Income will be calculated based on households’ needs for foods, clothing, electricity and supplies, to be revised at least once a year.
Emilianidou said they were currently finalising the final figure on the household basket.
This September, some 52,112 people were registered as unemployed, enabling them to get unemployment benefits for up to six months and also apply to government employment schemes.