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Screen_Shot_2014-06-03_at_8.10.23_PMIt’s Graduation season….. and it’s no secret the economic climate is hardly lush with employment opportunities for college graduates. The various universities, both public and private, churn out hundreds of graduates who are unable to find job placements.


According to many accounts, recent graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to secure a job, and those who do find work are often confined to low-wage positions. Stories of this nature raise troubling questions about whether a college degree still helps people find good jobs.


And while there are many theories as to the factors of unemployment, graduates are completing school with a degree and a head full of knowledge, but still are not impressing the white-collar employers. Reporter Maria Novelo has the story.

Maria Novelo – Reporting

By the time these graduates come out, they find to their deepest frustration that the job market is choked or that the courses majority of these graduates chose do not reflect national requirements. However, with the sluggish labour market, there have been widespread reports of newly minted college graduates who are unsuccessful at finding jobs suited to their level of education.


Shedding light on this issue is the Dean at Muffles Junior College, Adrian Leiva, who says whilst employment is a tangible benefit that comes with a degree, education is not meant only to make you employable.

Adrian Leiva – Dean, MJC

“With the knowledge that you gain you become a better decision maker, you have the opportunity to become a better critical thinker and anything that you do being a home maker, being a father or a mother it does make you a better person in terms of making decision and that is one. The other is that even though there might not be any jobs out there we need to change our mentality that there has, to that sense of readiness for opportunity, so whilst there might not be jobs available now, you don’t not go to school because there are not jobs but you need to go to school for when those opportunities arrive you will be ready for those jobs.”

Youths 14 to 24 years old are the ones most critically affected by unemployment. The unemployment rate for the country for April 2012 stood at 14.4% this rate expresses the percentage of the labour force that is not currently working. Leiva says the educational system is deteriorating across the board.

Adrian Leiva – Dean, MJC

“We are no longer literate in English even professionals today has lost the mastery of English so that today I would like to open it up for discussion for school no need to be teaching English as a second language because we are now being influence by other languages like Spanish and Creole but we need to master English because English is still the language of instructions and the language of business in our society, that is one, numeracy skill needs to be strengthened because if we don’t have these skills then our people cannot unfold themselves as wide as they can to be productive citizens and so we need to begin with more dialogue with the high schools and the primary schools without using the blame game who is to blame it is a cycle and we all need to be a part of solving the problem.”


One of the major pitfalls in the unemployment rate in the country is that the degrees are not aligned with what is needed in the labour market.

Adrian Leiva – Dean, MJC

“Of the number of programs that all the tertiary level institutions in Belize are offering a very small percentage of it really makes a graduate reasonable employable so that what happens today is that even though those who are employed they are under employed and they are not using the skills that they got in the schools and so we first need to face that there is no shame in facing what needs to be addressed and now I as an educational leader would like to invite other people to enter the dialogue for us to do something about it so that is why one of the explanations that graduates are sitting on their diplomas.”

And though students are optimistic about their futures, the employment outlook for graduates this year is yet to be foretold.


About 65.2 percent of persons or 148,093 persons of working age in Belize are in the labour force, that is, they either had a job or would have been available if one was offered to them.


The Corozal District has the highest proportion of working age persons in the labour force (71.0 percent) while the Toledo District has the lowest at 53.2 percent. Both Orange Walk and Stann Creek Districts had labour force participation rates below the national average.

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