With a young population, decent jobs for youths is a challenge.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Jone Usamate while addressing the Asia Pacific Group Ministerial Meeting at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland this week.
The meeting focused on challenges and opportunities of demography and balancing decent jobs for youths and the ageing population.
Usamate stated that ageing populations in developed countries provides opportunities for countries with a youthful population such as Fiji to access work opportunities and called for easier access into these job markets.
“Our youthful population where the average age in Fiji is 27 years and 69 percent of our population is below 40 years,” Minister Usamate said.
“Also, that unemployment is at a historic low of 4.5 percent however, youth unemployment is 18 percent.”
Usamate stated that this is our challenge and to address this there is emphasis on access to education and support programmes for the youths. Some examples are the Young Entrepreneurship Scheme, tax rebates encouraging employers to provide jobs to the youths, Farmer Assistance Programme, and funding support for scholarships.
“To further address this, training providers and employers to have closer links to set up career pathways, encourage youths to have technical and financial skills to be self-employed, set up work attachments for job seekers, and volunteerism to be promoted widely as a career path.”
The Employment Minister further highlighted that Fiji would have to have policies, programmes and plans of action that are youth-centric and futuristic making use of the potential of millennials and post-millennials.