Job training provided for N. Korean defectors
By Yi Whan-woo
The Ministry of Employment and Labor said Sunday it will offer a special job training program for North Korean defectors from today to help them adjust to the society in the South.
The program is designed to train defectors as welders, construction machinery operators, computer programming testers and textile workers for hanbok, or traditional Korean clothing, through five to six months of instruction.
The project comes amid a growing demand for jobs among the 24,000 North Korean defectors. The ministry said the number is likely to increase, as up to 3,000 defectors come to the South every year.
The ministry will provide four courses for defectors based on their previous work experience. They will include standard South Korean language, understanding a capitalist society, how to behave in the workplace, basic computer skills, and foreign languages.
The program will accept 100 jobseekers, including 20 for welding that will start today and run until March 21, 2013. Only men are eligible for the 912-hour program under the instruction of the Korea Institute of Construction Technology Education in Incheon.
Volvo Construction Equipment Korea will manage a 1,158-hour course for the operation of construction machinery from Sept. 10 to March 8. Thirty selected defectors will be able to learn how to handle heavy machinery such as forklifts, bulldozers, backhoes and cranes in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.
Two courses are exclusively designed for women. A total of 25 female jobseekers will be able to take a 960-hour education program on computer programming from Sept. 17 to March 15 at the career development center run by Samsung SDS, a software firm under Samsung Group, in southern Seoul.
The association of the country’s hanbok manufacturers will teach women defectors how to make traditional clothes for 900 hours from Sept. 10 to March 20.
A North Korean defector can visit any of the 81 ministry branch offices throughout the country for consultation.
Each of the 100 trainees will receive instruction for free and will also receive 316,000 won ($278) every month during the training period.
The ministry said it will help them land a job immediately once they complete the course. It will also run further programs in the future after assessing the results of this one.
“We hope to see active participation by North Korean defectors and we’ll cooperate with the Ministry of Unification and civic groups for this program to become a success,” an official said.