‘Change work attitudes’

National 2 minutes, 50 seconds

TUTONG

FAMILIES and friends must change their perceptions of relatives who work in the private sector, said the head of Local Employment and Workforce Development Agency (APTK).

During the Brunei Mini Job Fair in Tutong yesterday, Hj Afero Eswandy Hj Mohamad said his major concern on unemployment in the sultanate was the mindset of those around the jobseeker.

“Our biggest challenge is to actually change how the locals think about jobs, to make them more committed to it and retain it,” he said.

He said there were some Bruneians who had initially settled with their position, but pressure from parents, families, and society may force the person to be more selective and apply for far-reaching posts.

Hj Afero Eswandy said everyone starts from the bottom, and not proceed straight to the top.

He gave an example of a cleaner at a mechanic shop, who later learned to be a mechanic.

Years later, the person is now a supervisor of the workshop.

Echoing similar sentiments was Chin Mee Lein, who has worked at Hua Ho Department Store for three years.

She described her first job as a sales assistant at a convenience store at Perusahaan Hj Bolhassan, moved to three other companies before settling down as a human resources employee at Hua Ho.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, the 27-year-old said Bruneians must learn to stay longer at a workplace and not to take things personally when criticised.

“In my experience, I have seen some cases where workers even involve their family to confront their employers,” she said.

“But we must learn to be independent and be responsible for our actions,” she added.

Chin said working at five companies had taught her experience builds perseverance.

“The difference between those with experience or not can be seen in how long they last in a job and their versatility,” she said.

From her experiences as a human resource staff, she spoke of how an inexperienced worker resigned a year later.

“(In contrast), a two-year experienced cook from a restaurant can head to Hua Ho Department Store and become a baker or salesperson and last for at least five years,” she said.

“(This is why) experience of applicants is important to employers,” she added.

During the job fair, The Brunei Times asked some of the qualities companies at the job fair value.

Sunita Martin of Mohan’s Carpet Palace said she values flexibility and realistic expectations because Bruneians rarely stay long at one workplace.

“The company once shortlisted 11 workers, but only three showed up the next day after the workload was shown to them. By the end of the week, only one remained,” she added.

Sunita said a Bruneian school leaver sent a job application requesting for a salary of at least $1,500.

Mohan’s Carpet Palace only offered three positions, namely trainee carpet, driver, sales assistant and all of them required O Levels.

Sunita, previously an international student adviser at the University of Winchester, praised the potential of the Training and Employment Scheme (SLP).

The scheme under the Department of Economic Planning and Development provides an incentive for Bruneians to work at a company for at least two years.

“This (two-year) scheme is important because workers may not stay in the same position in the company forever,” she said.

“This gives them a scope for movement, seniority to possibly grow higher (in the company),” Sunita added.

The Brunei Times