The roll out of a pilot programme to give young people a second chance at education and training is a step closer after the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industries (TCCI) endorsed the Pacific Youth Engagement, Empowerment, and Economic Pathways (PYEEEP) programme at a workshop held by the Pacific Community (SPC) today.
The workshop is a key step in rolling out the pilot in Tonga to empower youth not in education, employment or training (NEET), and shaping the development of a pragmatic and strategic approach towards youth NEET to achieve clear and lasting improvements in social and economic development.
The Pacific Youth Engagement, Empowerment, and Economic Pathways (PYEEEP) programme – funded by the New Zealand Government – will support efforts that address the situation of youth NEET who remain excluded from mainstream development efforts and are often disaffected in Tonga. The programme is aimed at supplementing conventional approaches in the formal education system by providing alternative pathways to decent work or meaningful engagement in society.
In Tonga, youth unemployment stands at 18.7 per cent according to the International Labour Organization, with the average rate for the region being 23 per cent. In every Pacific Island country and territory, the unemployment rate for young women is higher than for young men. The project therefore responds to a critical need to support and empower Tongan youth.
“This programme is an excellent example of producing skilled youths for job markets in the region. We are proud to be an integral partner in this the PYEEEP Programme, an area of great importance for the Chamber of Commerce as well” said Mr Sam Vea, President of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“This project offers disaffected youths a second chance at education and training. It aims to develop socially and economically responsible citizens” said Ms Arieta Matalomani, Team Leader - Inclusive and Equitable Societies, Human Rights and Social Development Division of SPC.
“The project, therefore, recognises and addresses these inequalities by creating a window of opportunity for young people, where they are able to thrive and contribute to society in meaningful ways,” she further added.
In his vote of thanks, Mr Paula Taumoepeau, the former president of the TCCI and current TCCI council member said,
“We hope the programme continues. We encourage businesses here to put their hands up and volunteer to provide work for trained interns as it gives young people an opportunity they would otherwise not have.
The project launch will take place next month.
Notes: The programme is funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade Aid Programme (MFAT). Learn more at: www.mfat.govt.nz.
The strategic goal of the programme is that Pacific Island countries improve sustainable development outcomes for youth excluded from mainstream development. The long-term outcome is that Pacific youth who are not in education, employment or training (Youth NEET) are empowered citizens and lead positive change in social and economic development.
SPC is partnering with the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Tonga to deliver the programme. Other programme stakeholders in Tonga include the Ministry of Internal Affairs Youth Development Division, Tonga National Youth Congress, Tupou Technical Institute, Ahopanilolo Technical Institute, and the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Karine Gatellier, Information, Communications and Visibility Officer, HRSD Division, SPC Email: [email protected]
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