Concerning mismatch between graduates and job opportunities
It was reported in the Solomon Star newspaper today, Thursday, that a total of 78 students studying under Australia Pacific Technical Coalition (APTC) graduated on Wednesday during a ceremony in Honiara.
The event marked the successfully completion of their studies.
Most of the studies had been studying for months and years in 15 different technical and vocational courses offered by APTC.
Deputy Prime Minister John Maneniaru was the chief guest.
When delivering the key note address he congratulated the graduates for their achievements as their hard work had paid off.
“This year’s event is very special there are equal numbers of men and women graduating in this class which is a milestone for gender equality, the Minister said.
“I’m please to say that an Australian qualification award is indeed a significant achievement, Minister Maneniaru added.
Those who graduated yesterday are now part of the 1900 Solomon Islanders who have undergone studies at APTC since its establishment in the country.
While I congratulate the recently graduating students, I have to wonder just what job opportunities exist for the graduates and, indeed how all the past APTC students have fared in securing work at home or abroad.
Solomon Islands still faces multiple challenges to expanding economic growth, including remoteness and the small size of the private sector.
Addressing the problem of the skills mismatch between employer demand and supply in Solomon Islands is of increasing importance as the number of labour force entrants grows rapidly. Estimates suggest the labour force could grow by 30 percent by 2020.
Government policymakers need to put more work in understanding how the education system and the labour market interact in order to prepare Solomon Islanders for employment, and to turn the risk of a youth bulge into an opportunity for growth.
I know several initiatives have been undertaken in the Solomon Islands to address the growth constraint caused by the skills mismatch. These have included investments to expand early childhood education (ECE), improve basic education quality, strengthen the quality and relevance of technical and vocational training provision (through Rural Training Centres), expand youth employability, and to develop a Solomon Islands Qualifications Framework (SIQF).
I do concern myself greatly, however, that there remains a considerable mismatch between an increasingly qualified youth and the lack of jobs at home and overseas, including jobs in the professions, in technical fields and in the hospitality industry.
“The longer workers are unemployed, the greater the likelihood that their skills will erode and workers will lose attachment to the labor force, permanently damaging the economy's dynamism and potential output.” Jerome Powell.