Universities on Cyprus do not have a tradition related to work-based learning, thus, the government is trying to fill in the gap by various schemes through the Human Resource Development Authority (HRDA). The scheme gives an opportunity for new graduates who have less than eight months of experience and are under 30 years old to be placed in the private sector for six months. This helps the participants gain a full understanding of the work environment, a view of the industry from within, and also gain professional knowledge of the subject. Furthermore, the trainees get the chance to brush up their hard skills by facing real-time problems that need immediate solutions, expand real work environment, and fine-tune their soft skills.
Work and Structure of the HRDA
The Human Resource Development Authority of Cyprus (HRDA) is a semi-government organisation, which commenced its operations in 1979 under the initial name of Industrial Training Authority of Cyprus. Its mission is to create necessary prerequisites for planned and systematic training and development of Cyprus human resources, at all levels and all sectors, for meeting the economy needs, within the overall national socio-economic policies. The HRDA is governed by a 13-strong Board of Governors, comprised of 5 Government, 4 Employer and 4 Trade Union representatives.
Human & Financial Resources
The HRDA has put a lot of effort into making the scheme work, by dedicating an adequate number of its personnel to the scheme itself. Their performance and presence are evaluated by real-time visits made by an HRDA supervisor. Companies file a request, and in around 8 weeks period, they are granted (or not) the permission to proceed with the employment of a young graduate. Companies usually set a supervisor for new staff, and where is needed, mentorship is offered as well.
Regarding the financial side of the programme, the Cyprus Government provides under the De Minimis Fund that is responsible for the payment to the young graduates under this specific scheme. De Minimis offers the opportunity for a company to benefit 200,000 euros for a three-year period, when certain projects/actions can be implemented.
Both the business and graduates receive monetary incentives. There is a lower income set by HRDA at 950 euros/month. The company pays a trainee on a monthly basis – and claims the total cost of the placement after its successful completion.
What are the impacts?
Numerous positive impacts have been recorded since the commencement of the scheme. There have been recorded lower levels of youth unemployment – Cyprus has fairly high levels of youth unemployment since the economic crisis of 2013. There have been many cases where participants get the chance to be employed by the company, and further advance in their field of interest.
Participating companies benefit from the programme by (i) improving their organization and management through appropriate staffing, (ii) allocating tasks / responsibilities to executives more efficiently to unburden their general management, (iii) reducing employment and training costs until the graduate becomes efficient through the HRDA grant, (iv) and providing a systematic training to the graduate in close cooperation with the HRDA.
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