The Dominican Republic is the second country with the highest youth unemployment rate in Central America, according to the report, ‘Situation of Vocational Studies in Central America and the Dominican Republic: 1998-2013’, prepared by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). A situation that has gradually worsened over the last ten years in this Caribbean country.

Young Dominicans encounter closed doors when seeking their first jobs after graduating. It is a problem for the people affected and the Achilles heel of the country’s economic policies over the last ten years. To try to alleviate this situation, the APEC University of Santo Domingo recently organised a fair where private businesses and students were brought together in order to obtain first-hand information on the needs and offers of private companies. More than 600 young people attended the event. Too many for the few seats available. New graduates place all their hopes in this type of event as a young women who attended the fair acknowledged, “every time you hand in a CV or fill-in an application form you think that, perhaps, this will be the one”.

María Isabel Sánchez, director of Graduates and Job Placement at the UNAPEC suggested that the statistics are not accurate because business leaders do not always provide the university with feedback. In spite of everything, she acknowledged that since this initiative began seven years ago, 400 university students have found their first jobs.