11 July 2024

Thailand’s Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation has set aside 8.6 billion baht
to help tackle unemployment among university graduates, the number of whom will reach 500,000 in
the next four months.

HESRI Minister Suwit Maesinsee said yesterday that the ongoing trade war between US and China has
impacted Thai industries and the employment situation, with about 370,000 university graduates unable
to find work, and that number is expected to grow to over 500,000 when the new batch of about
300,000 graduates leave their campuses.

The 8.6 billion baht budget will fund the Nation-Building Youth program. This will be split into three
projects, namely the graduate volunteer project, the Pracharat volunteer project and the Start-up Youth
Enterprise Fund.

Mr. Suwit said that the projects are expected to provide temporary jobs to 10%, or about 50,000 jobless

The bulk of the fund, about 8 billion baht, is allocated for the graduate volunteer project, modelled after
Dr. Puey Ungphakorn’s graduate volunteer program. Applications are open at all universities to new
graduates and those who graduated in the past three years. The work duration is 12 months and the
monthly pay ranges from 10,000 to 15,000 baht. The successful applicants will be required to work in
rural areas for about a year.

500 million baht is allocated to the Pracharat volunteer project, which will target third and fourth-year
students. About 10,000 students are expected to be hired to work with villagers in rural areas for 4-5
months, or one semester, and each will be entitled to allowances of 5,000 baht a month.

The pilot Pracharat volunteer project will be launched in December in Kalasin, one of the three poorest
provinces in Thailand. 500 student volunteers will be split into groups of 8-10 to work with rural folk in
their communities, so they can use their classroom knowledge to help solve villagers’ problems.

The third project, the Start-up Youth Enterprise Fund, enables students to work with university
personnel in developing local products for start-up enterprises.