In connection with the Champion Leaders Development Program on TVET Skills for Poverty Alleviation held from December 2 – 6, 2013 at Suva, Fiji (See related story:http://www.cpsctech.org/programnews/cpsc-and-fiji-ministry-education-partner-12th-sdpa-program), a national seminar on TVET Skills for Enhancing Youth Employability: Perspectives and Strategies was held on December 4, 2013 at the Ministry of Finance Conference Room, Suva, Fiji.
The seminar was attended by 60 administrators, policy makers, academic professionals, and experts including private sector and enthusiasts from Fiji.
Co-organized by the Colombo Plan Staff College (CPSC) and the TVET Section of the Ministry of Education – Fiji, the seminar aimed to provide the opportunity for Fijians in different sectors to share knowledge and experiences on the educational and training dimension of enhancing skills for employability. It also elucidated the various strategies and approaches towards successful diffusion of skills for employability mechanism with the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system.
Key speakers graced the national seminar and delivered relevant topics – Ratu Seru Mataidrau, Manager of Sustainable Livelihood Programme, Fiji National University (Topic: Emergent Issues and New Approaches in Skills for Employability in Fiji); Mr. Enrico V. Muñoz, General Manager, South Pacific Business Development Microfinance Fiji Limited (Topic: Poverty Alleviation through Micro Financing in TVET); Mr. Akuila Sovanivalu, Senior Youth Officer, Youth Development and Training Unit, Ministry of Youth and Sports (Topic: Youth Employment and Skills Development); and Dr. Romulita Alto, CPSC Faculty Consultant (1997 – 2001) and Research Consultant, Technological Institute of the Philippines (Topic: Good Practices on Youth Employment & Skills Development in Asia & Pacific Region).
At the end of the seminar, the Chairman Mr. Tomasi Naborisi, Principal Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Fiji facilitated the generation of recommendations to enhance youth employability in his country.
1) Strengthen the collaboration of different government ministries and stakeholders with regards to TVET training, youth employment, and poverty alleviation. Use a consultative approach.
2) Include entrepreneurship training in TVET programs.
3) Create awareness programs for the services/training institutions that are available to the community to empower them.
4) Link TVET training by different stakeholders through the National Qualification Framework for National Recognition.
5) Make available labor market information to the communities especially the parents and teachers who are most influential in the career choices of students.
6) Inculcate the needs and interests of youth in the types of training offered. In Fiji, sports have a great potential in earning a living for many young people.
7) Consider not only the economic/finance gains from training but the social aspect as well.
8) Increase level of investment by government and non-government agencies in the area of TVET, youth leadership, sports programs, entrepreneurship training, etc.
9) All stakeholders must support the National Employment Centre (NEC) with regards to finding employment for youths who are registered with the centre.
10) Stronger research on how best Fiji could strengthen youth training & empowering programs. Parents and guardians’ input are vital.
11) Although tough, monitoring and evaluation of each project is very important and should be done regularly.
12) Study and adopt to local context the successful projects in the area of poverty alleviation. There are many success stories and best practices in Fiji and overseas to learn from.