UK working holiday program tough for Koreans

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UK working holiday program tough for Koreans

By Jung Min-ho

Kim Min-soo
While many Koreans are interested in working in the United Kingdom, job opportunities remain scarce for them.

In fact, for many people in the U.K., issues about Korea mean little. But Kim Min-soo, 23, a business student and member of the Conservative Party in Britain, is striving to change that. He wants to help struggling Korean working holiday visa holders, through advocating for policy changes and improvements in education.

In 2012, Korea and the United Kingdom agreed to allow young people, aged from 18 to 30, to live and work for a maximum of two years in each other's countries in order to gain work experience.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 386 Koreans participated in the program, called the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), in 2012, and this number jumped to 965 in 2013. Yet the high rate of Korean participants returning home early increasingly makes the program look like a failure.

Kim, who is a member of the Holborn & St. Pancras Conservative Association and attends University College London (UCL), raised the issue to party members, urging them to continue working to eradicate problems affecting the job employment rate of the YMS in the U.K.

He became a recognized member of the Holborn and St. Pancras Conservative Association (HSPCA) last year and HSPCA reformed its relationship with UCL Conservatives and now recognize all who join the student's Conservative association at UCL as student members of the HSPCA.

Recently, he started helping the YMS participants by holding a weekly session at the Korean Cultural Centre U.K. in London, supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

"The reason I started this project is to resolve problems that I cannot improve with just politics," he said in an interview.

"I spoke about the popularity of this program and represented Korean YMS participants for almost a zero crime rate or unlawful financial activities, and almost no tax concealing, but honest contribution."

As a senior representative of the Diplomacy Committee of UCL Conservatives, he also regularly brings up issues such as the East Sea and Dokdo at meetings to raise awareness of Japan's territorial ambitions to U.K. politicians to actually bring about systematic changes in favor of Korea.

He said the Conservative Party wishes many YMS participants will settle down in the U.K. and continue to work for it.

"It is truly undesirable and regretful," he said. "They have great difficulties in getting jobs due to the conservative and protective employment culture, and the language barrier in the U.K."

He believes consulting and mentoring will help YMS participants' employment, specifically the language barrier in interviews. "I'm determined to render something more than just help, but methodical and proper regular consulting," he said.

The program was created to enhance closer diplomatic relations between the two countries and foster prospective leaders.

"I am going to teach and guide them how to write a resume, which is important for YMS participants," he said.

Also, he will teach interview skills. He said he categorized thousands of predictable interview questions into five categories: basic, behavioral, salary, career development and personal.

"I believe many Korean YMS participants are young, capable and eligible for many professional jobs," he said. "Technical things like writing a resume, preparing for interviews and cultural hindrances are what we need to focus on to increase the employment rate."

By Jung Min-ho

Kim Min-soo
While many Koreans are interested in working in the United Kingdom, job opportunities remain scarce for them.

In fact, for many people in the U.K., issues about Korea mean little. But Kim Min-soo, 23, a business student and member of the Conservative Party in Britain, is striving to change that. He wants to help struggling Korean working holiday visa holders, through advocating for policy changes and improvements in education.

In 2012, Korea and the United Kingdom agreed to allow young people, aged from 18 to 30, to live and work for a maximum of two years in each other's countries in order to gain work experience.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 386 Koreans participated in the program, called the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), in 2012, and this number jumped to 965 in 2013. Yet the high rate of Korean participants returning home early increasingly makes the program look like a failure.

Kim, who is a member of the Holborn & St. Pancras Conservative Association and attends University College London (UCL), raised the issue to party members, urging them to continue working to eradicate problems affecting the job employment rate of the YMS in the U.K.

He became a recognized member of the Holborn and St. Pancras Conservative Association (HSPCA) last year and HSPCA reformed its relationship with UCL Conservatives and now recognize all who join the student's Conservative association at UCL as student members of the HSPCA.

Recently, he started helping the YMS participants by holding a weekly session at the Korean Cultural Centre U.K. in London, supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea.

"The reason I started this project is to resolve problems that I cannot improve with just politics," he said in an interview.

"I spoke about the popularity of this program and represented Korean YMS participants for almost a zero crime rate or unlawful financial activities, and almost no tax concealing, but honest contribution."

As a senior representative of the Diplomacy Committee of UCL Conservatives, he also regularly brings up issues such as the East Sea and Dokdo at meetings to raise awareness of Japan's territorial ambitions to U.K. politicians to actually bring about systematic changes in favor of Korea.

He said the Conservative Party wishes many YMS participants will settle down in the U.K. and continue to work for it.

"It is truly undesirable and regretful," he said. "They have great difficulties in getting jobs due to the conservative and protective employment culture, and the language barrier in the U.K."

He believes consulting and mentoring will help YMS participants' employment, specifically the language barrier in interviews. "I'm determined to render something more than just help, but methodical and proper regular consulting," he said.

The program was created to enhance closer diplomatic relations between the two countries and foster prospective leaders.

"I am going to teach and guide them how to write a resume, which is important for YMS participants," he said.

Also, he will teach interview skills. He said he categorized thousands of predictable interview questions into five categories: basic, behavioral, salary, career development and personal.

"I believe many Korean YMS participants are young, capable and eligible for many professional jobs," he said. "Technical things like writing a resume, preparing for interviews and cultural hindrances are what we need to focus on to increase the employment rate."



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