Samoa launches plan to address youth unemployment
International Labour Organisation launches National Action Plan to address youth employment issues in Samoa.
Samoa's first national plan aimed at improving issues with youth employment in the country has been launched by the International Labour Organisation.
The ILO says youth unemployment is estimated to be around 16 percent and further adds to the overall unemployment rate which remains a critical challenge in the country.
Cherelle Jackson, the national project coordinator of Samoa's National Action Plan on Youth Employment, or SNAP on YE spoke to Indira Moala.
CHERELLE JACKSON: For the first time in Samoa there's a project that actually targets improving employability of young people within the climate change sector as well as the environment sector. So all of these components put together actually creates this 12 month project which is the Samoan National Action Plan on Youth Employment.
INDIRA MOALA: What are some of the barriers in Samoa that contribute to youth unemployment?
CJ: It really comes down to decent jobs, the availability of decent jobs for young people. And also the matching of skills of young people to these jobs that are available. But a key issue that has come about in ILO [International Labour Organisation] consolations with our partners nationally is the interest of youth in the work that's available. What are young people's interest now and how can we engage them in an effective manner in the workforce and so hopefully this project will bring about some answers to those questions.
IM: Legally in the country is there good legislation that protects youth being employed or allows them to work in safe environments, still have their rights respected, and have good wages?
CJ: Samoa is currently developing an employment policy and so as part of that policy it will identify some of those areas you addressed but as part of ILOs mandate we have to ensure there's decent work for all and this includes young people. And by decent work we mean you know fair pay standards, rights within the work place, and safety within the work place.
IM: The deputy director for the ILO for the Pacific, Satoshi Sasaki, he said that the rural to urban drift of young people has put enormous strain on the Government to try and generate adequate jobs, especially for youth in urban areas. Are there any plans to look at ways to provide more employment in rural areas?
CJ: There are definitely plans by several ministries, also NGOs and the private sector to look at recognising the informal economy. So by recognising the informal economy, this can encourage young people to not just build you know their income generating activities within their villages or in a rural sector, it also builds the economy from the rural area, and therefore discourages some youth to migrate to the urban area and hope for jobs. So the way forward on retaining young people's talents in the rural areas is to recognise the informal economy within rural areas and also encourage young people to engage in activities such as farming and creative industries whereby they can still stay within their villages but contribute economically to their families and create income for themselves.
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