20 Feb 2009

Branding Pacific workforce says meeting of Pacific leaders in NZ

12:39 pm on 20 February 2009

Branding the Pacific workforce is one of the ideas to emerge from a jobs fono in Wellington.

Pacific leaders were called to the fono at the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs to come up with ways to minimise the impact of the global recession on their community.

The Ministry's chief executive, Colin Tukuitonga, says Pacific people are already disadvantaged in the New Zealand labour market, where they earn on average more than 3 dollars an hour less than most New Zealanders.

But he says ideas from the fono that he would like to see taken forward include targetting the needs of young people who have left school without qualifications, and identifying the unique contribution Pacific people can offer in the workplace.

"Brand Pacific, what is the Pacific workforce. Can we position present that to a competitive market. You know what have Pacific workers got to offer. I think there's a very real potential there."

Colin Tukuitonga says he's confident the ideas expressed at the job fono will be heard at the national employment summit in Auckland next week.