Michalis Soulis: The "unlocking" of unemployment. Is it in the hands of the construction sector?

Article by the Candidate MP in Famagusta with the Change of Generation, Michalis Soulis

DSC 4843 1024x683 1 Articles of Parliament, Parliamentary Elections 2021, Michalis Soulis

To Michalis Soulis

With the indelible marks left in our country by the economic crises that we have gone through and are going through, is it time to change some mentalities that exist in our country? The technical professions are disappearing year by year, at a time when unemployment is rising and is a permanent social and economic hoax for Cyprus.

Most young people turn their backs on the technical professions. But these are the things that could give jobs and focus young people's efforts to integrate into the labor market through services and even the tourism industry.

Yes, services have been and are the spearhead for both the Cypriot economy and the world economy, but let us not forget that today there is a huge shortage of experts in technical professions. A shortage that, if covered in the future, could be the solution to our huge unemployment problem.

The unemployed in Cyprus, according to the latest data, exceed 32 thousand people while the majority of them are in the tourism sector and services in general, where they exceed 7 thousand. The tourism sector, as evidenced by the recent health crisis, is particularly fragile. At the same time, unemployment in the construction sector was much lower and reached only 2 thousand people.

There is a future and money in the construction sector

On the opposite bank is the construction industry, which proved to be irreparably affected after the 2013 crisis, with all companies in this sector reducing their staff. Result; Many craftsmen and especially skilled Cypriot craftsmen remained unemployed while foreign skilled craftsmen who were in our country were forced to leave for other developed countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. The least skilled foreign craftsmen returned to their country, Romania and Bulgaria mainly.

Then and in the following years we had growth again in the construction sector due mainly to the Investment Program but finding competent staff from foreign countries was much more difficult since most skilled craftsmen had left for other developed countries. This fact had the direct consequence of a lack of technical staff and the companies in the construction sector of our country not being able to cope with the volume of work. As a result, construction companies from various foreign countries are trying to fill this gap and get contracts in our country.

All this leads us to the conclusion that great importance must be given through our educational system to the promotion of technical professions as the labor market can no longer absorb so many scientists as well as so many service workers. In fact, in 2020, twice as many unemployed people were absorbed in the construction sector than in tourism services.

Certainly the construction sector is a difficult and tedious sector but the salary is still satisfactory and higher than other professions (mainly from the tourism industry) and allows a worker in this sector to live with dignity and he and his family. In construction, according to the latest data, the average monthly salary was 1,563 euros, while in the tourism professions it was 1,299 euros.

At the same time, in this way, unemployment in our country will be reduced as well as the outflow of money abroad, creating the appropriate conditions for further development.

In conclusion, it is time to look at things realistically. Let's change the way we choose professions and finally show the way to young people how these professions can solve the issue of unemployment

Michalis Soulis is a Member of Parliament for Famagusta with the Generation Change Party.

 Brief CV

He was born in Larnaca in 1988 and lives in Xylotymvou. He comes from the occupied Achna and the occupied Vitsada of the Province of Famagusta, birthplaces of his father and mother respectively. He is married and has a son.

He is a graduate of the American Academy in Larnaca and during his military service he served as a Probationary Reserve Officer. I have studied Civil Engineering with honors and I have done a postgraduate course in Construction Project Management in Great Britain with a scholarship. I have also studied welding engineering (IWE-EWE) in Greece.

Today I work as a Technical Director in a private construction company, and I was also a professor at UCLan University teaching welding theory. I am a member of the Institute of Civil Engineering of England (ICE), ETEK and the Hellenic Institute of Welding.