Weather Fiji, Suva   Max 30°C, Min 23°C

Fiji Sun

SUNBIZ

FNU VC Calls For Closer Collaboration Between Agencies, Academic Institutions

FNU VC Calls For Closer Collaboration Between Agencies, Academic Institutions
Fiji National University vice-chancellor Professor Nigel Healey makes his presentation during the Talanoa Session on August 10, 2018.
August 12
12:47 2018

There is a greater need for collaboration between Gov­ernment agencies and aca­demic institutions as a major step towards a better understanding of the demand for skilled labour in Fiji and how this can be addressed.

This is one of the key outcomes of the talanoa session hosted by the Fiji National University (FNU) at its Nasese Campus.

The three-hour informal session was attended by senior manage­ment from FNU and key stake­holder partners from Government Ministries, Reserve Bank of Fiji, Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board (TSLB) as well as representa­tives from the private sector.

 

The key topics for discussion were:

1). What programmes should FNU be offering to support the nation’s economic development today?

2) What programmes should FNU be offering to support the nation’s economic development over the next 5-10 years?

The two questions lead to two

related research questions:

  1. a) What are the graduate outcomes from our current programmes in terms of graduate employment rates and graduate salaries?
  2. b) What knowledge, skills and competencies will employers need from graduates in 5-10 years?

FNU Vice Chancellor Professor Nigel Healey during his presenta­tion said it was important for key partners to work in harmony in or­der to address the gaps.

“The first research question can be answered empirically by study­ing the data,” Prof. Healey said.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) and Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) both hold data on the employment status and earnings of all Fiji residents, which are cross-referenced to an individual’s Tax Identification Number (TIN).

“In the case of graduates who have been in receipt of tuition fee loans, FRCS collects loan repay­ments through the tax system and remits them to the Tertiary Schol­arships and Loans Board (TSLB), so TSLB also holds data on gradu­ate outcomes for the majority of Fijian graduates,” he said.

“The second research question cannot be answered empirically.

“No concrete data exists for the fu­ture demand for skilled labour.

“But in Fiji, there are Government agencies like the Fiji Reserve Bank, the Ministry of Economy, the Min­istry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations and the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Tour­ism, Lands and Mineral Resources which all aim to predict labour market trends.

“Investment Fiji and the Fiji De­velopment Bank are both engaged in shaping the future labour mar­ket, by targeting emerging sector for inward investment.

“The various employers’ organi­sation like the Fiji Commerce and Employers are actively planning the future labour market.”

The talanoa heard that Fiji has a young population (the median age is 27 years) and the economy is de­veloping rapidly.

Educating the nation’s population is the key to Fiji’s continued eco­nomic success, the talanoa heard.

Professor Healey said it is criti­cal that FNU invests its resources in university programmes which meet the needs of employers today and in the future.

The talanoa was a major step to­wards a better understanding of the demand for skilled labour in Fiji.

“The labour market in Fiji is changing rapidly and new indus­tries and sectors are emerging,” Prof. Healey said.

“To help us develop programmes to meet the future needs of employ­ers, we needed to hear from our partners and business leaders.

“This Talanoa meeting of our stakeholders is intended to be an ongoing conversation about the changing demand for highly skilled labour in Fiji.

The vice-chancellor said FNU was proud to be a vocational university and it prepared graduates for real jobs.

“All our programmes are co-de­signed with employers to equip students to be ‘day one work-ready’ and all our programmes require students to undertake workplace attachments to prepare them to join the labour force,” he said.

“We judge our performance as a university by the percentage of our graduates getting a job after completing their diplomas and de­grees.”

Fiji National University

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

Share

Related Articles