Restocking Skilled Labour Through TVET

The following is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s ‘My Say’ on FBC’s For The Record which aired live last night.   This week, the Minister for Youth and Sports,
23 Jan 2017 11:00
Restocking Skilled Labour Through TVET

The following is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s ‘My Say’ on FBC’s For The Record which aired live last night.


This week, the Minister for Youth and Sports, Laisenia Tuitubou, was at the Warwick Fiji Resort and Spa, promoting the benefits of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) to people who live on the Coral Coast.

The programme has been available for some time. The people targeted are school dropouts and unemployed men and women. Many of those who have undertaken trade courses have found jobs, particularly in the building industry.

Mr Tuitubou revealed that there appeared to be a shortage of tradespeople and Government wanted to build a pool of qualified and skilled people. The whole range of courses gives people many choices of which career to pursue. Like New Zealand, Fiji went through a period which saw a shortage of qualified tradespeople. And that came about because many students opted to go to university and take purely academic programmes. Also, during the political turmoil, we lost skilled tradespeople who looked for greener pastures overseas.

Now Government is promoting trade courses through TVET in an effort to restock the skilled labour in the blue collar job market.

One of the major concerns today is the school dropouts who have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Some of them return to the rural areas where they come from and others drift into urban centres.

The ones that return to their villages and settlements should be gainfully employed or involved in some kind of economic activity.

Mr Tuitubou’s ministry has had some success in mobilising youths to form clubs or groups. Drawing on the strength and positive aspects of communalism, they have organised themselves and launch agricultural and fishing commercial projects. Some are also involved in sports, arts, music and cultural entertainment.

These are all positive activities. They keep our young people busy and occupied and help build character.

Remember that idleness is a popular tool of the devil. It gives people a false sense of freedom, independence and peace.

Whether they drift into towns and cities or rural and maritime areas, our young people usually turn to mischief and crime when they are not engaged in a positive activity. They become lazy and bored. Then they go out looking for something to do, somewhere where they can feel they are somebody. This is when they get into gangs, wrong gangs, and soon they are getting involved in petty crimes, drinking and smoking. They run against the law and end up in court and later in jail.

Mr Tuitubou and his team are doing their best to prevent this trend. But they can’t do it alone. They need the help of all the stakeholders, the parents, schools, community leaders, faith groups, non-governmental organisations and government agencies to deal with this challenge.

In our rural and maritime areas there are natural resources that can be utilised to generate some kind of economic activity.

Our young people should be provided with the tools to be able to make money from what is available to them.

In one of the islands, the young men got together and planted yaqona (kava). Now they are earning money and they have been able to help develop their community with the income from their yaqona or kava trade. Land is the primary resource for them. So for those who have land lying idle, why don’t they use it.

Sometimes you just get the impression that the kava bowl is more popular than an agricultural project or a fishing project.

We need to change our mindset and believe that wherever we go there is no substitute for hard work, industry and enterprise.

That’s what all the stakeholders should be teaching their people. No able bodied person should be idle.

If they do not know how to plant cassava or dalo then they need to learn how to do it.

Fiji National University is now taking short certificate courses to villages to empower them to develop and use their talents.

Technical Colleges have been set up to cater for those who have dropped out from schools. Students can learn an array of skills from bread making to building a boat and repairing an engine.

There is really is no excuse for not moving ahead in life. If there is a genuine desire to succeed, it is possible.




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