This year, competition for employment has gotten worse for recent graduates. According to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, only half of the nations’ college graduates are likely to get jobs this year, which is the lowest level in 11 years since the Asian financial crisis. The firm lid on the labor market has driven many students to postpone their graduation by going to graduate schools or simply refusing to graduate until they find their jobs. In an approach to help students survive in this unemployment problem, several universities, including Ewha, have initiated a retraining program for displaced and unemployed graduates in order to help them return to the labor market.
This March, Sookmyung Women's University (SWU) started post-bachelor program that provides its job-seeking graduates with academic courses free of charge. The school will also offer an internship course where graduates will work at companies those partners with SWU. According to a staff member at the Career Development Center at SWU, seeing its students “deliberately delaying their graduation and paying extra tuition fees last semester since they were not able to find jobs,” the school decided to implement this program even though it meant a financial burden. Graduates may take a maximum of three courses per semester. More so, there will be an internship course where graduates will work at partnership companies of SWU.
Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) has also initiated a retraining program for its graduates. For a year after graduation, graduates of SKKU may sign up for one online course a month, selected from a group of classes specially devised to help them get jobs. There are 200 courses available on subjects such as leadership, job responsibility, language, and computer programming skills. Since students only have to pay 10,000 won for each course, the program is very popular among graduates. The Career Development Center (CDC) has developed Ewha’s programs, which consists of an internship program, an education program, and a one-on-one coaching program.
Hong Seung-ryul, a staff member at the CDC, said 85 Ewha graduates have signed up for the program and a flood of phone calls has come from other interested graduates. The internship program, the most popular programs so far, provides students with hands-on experience, helps them develop their aptitude, and works as a gateway to successful employment. The internship program is subdivided into on-campus and off-campus internships. “We have already agreed to work with the Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and the Ministry of Labor to foster more internships as part of the government’s plan to create 60,000 new internships for young graduates,” said Hong.
The education program provides students seminars and courses which give graduates helpful tips to survive in the job market. For the seminars, eminent figures, such as CEOs and Ewha alumni taking active parts in society, visit Ewha to provide lectures. The courses will teach job interview tips, language skills, and international technology and students will be paying a discounted course fee. The education program is backed up by the one-on-one coaching program, in which students will have one-on-one mock job interviews with the staff members of the CDC.
“The CDC has been working with Ewha students for decades. We have met various types of students and have been successful in leading the students on satisfying career paths. So, if there is anyone out there still searching for a job, do not hesitate to come and consult with us,” said Hong. “The CDC is here to give a lifelong service to all Ewha students.”