A thousand jobs from 20 prospective employers were on offer Saturday at a ‘Youth Career Expo 2017’ jointly organised by the economic development ministry and the state-owned Housing Development Corporation in Hulhumalé.
According to the ministry, 1,600 out of about 4,000 visitors to the fair applied for jobs, the bulk of which was offered by the Tree Top Hospital, a privately owned multi-specialty tertiary hospital nearing completion in Hulhumalé.
“We invited the Tree Top hospital, state-owned companies and resorts to come to the fair with their vacancies,” an official from the ministry told the Maldives Independent.
“Tree Top said they have more than 500 jobs available. These include technical, engineering and administrative staff.”
Vacancies at state-owned enterprises included “administrative, accounting and even managerial posts,” the official said, whilst jobs at resorts ranged from housekeepers and room boys to accountants and supervisors.
Construction of the 159-bed, six-storey tertiary hospital began in late 2015. The US$80 million project was undertaken by Tree Top Investments, a company formed in 2013 by four prominent tourism companies: Champa Brothers, Kasa Holdings, Crown Company, and Kuredu Holdings.
Ramsay Sime Darby, a joint venture between a Malaysian multinational and Australia’s largest private hospital group, was enlisted to manage the hospital, which is due to open in June.
According to the Housing Development Corporation – a state-owned company tasked with developing an urban centre in Hulhumalé, a reclaimed island near the capital – the job fair “showcased available employment opportunities within Hulhumalé and greater Malé region to youths in the country.”
The one-day expo featured keynote sessions, entertainment activities and live music performances. The HDC said it aims to make the expo an annual event.
Developing a ‘Youth City’ in Hulhumalé – connected by a bridge to the capital island Malé – and creating 94,000 jobs in five years are key campaign pledges of President Abdulla Yameen.
The government insists that 64,000 new jobs have been created since November 2013, a claim that the opposition has dismissed as unsubstantiated.
Speaking at the expo’s opening ceremony, HDC Managing Director Mohamed Saiman said the artificial island has changed over the years from a quiet suburb where people come to sleep after working in Malé or nearby resorts.
Job opportunities in Hulhumalé have increased fourfold in the past four years, he said, adding that the number of guesthouses has also grown from 18 in 2013 to 80 at present.
The jobs fair was inaugurated on Saturday morning by First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim, who was accompanied by Economic Development Minister Mohamed Saeed, Housing Minister Dr Mohamed Muiz, Home Minister Azleen Ahmed and several ruling party lawmakers,
According to state media, the fair was organised at her behest. The Television Maldives coverage of the expo repeatedly described it as “an initiative of the first lady”.
The expo took place at the government-run Rehendhi School, which was decked with massive posters of Yameen, some with quotes about his administration’s focus on youth development.
The first lady, known as Madam Fathun, launched Yameen’s re-election campaign last month. A campaign office she heads is planning to carry out a series of nationwide activities ahead of next year’s presidential election.
Earlier this month, the first lady spearheaded a membership recruitment drive for the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives and toured islands in Noonu Atoll, paying visits to government offices, health centres and the disabled.
The first lady’s office also previously conducted a series of symposiums to train “campaign leaders” from across the country.
But the activities of her charity organisation have stirred controversy. She previously came under fire for distributing cash during visits with the chronically ill at the hospital and visits to households in Malé. In early January, the anti-graft watchdog ruled out corruption in the distribution of dates gifted by Saudi Arabia under the name of the first lady’s charity.
Speaking to the Maldives Independent earlier this month, Majority Leader Ahmed Nihan described the first lady as “hard-working”, “perfectionist” and a “multi-tasker”.
“All aspiring presidential candidates for the 2023 elections must make sure that their wives are of the same calibre as Madam Fathun,” he said.
Photos from HDC