18 Apr 2011

Pacific governments urged to focus on trades training for youth

1:50 pm on 18 April 2011

Pacific governments are being urged to focus on training school leavers in trades rather than funnelling them into further academic study.

The regional director of the Commonwealth Youth Programme's Pacific Centre says last month's conference in Vanuatu on youth unemployment strengthened an NGO commitment to get governments to do more than talk about the issue.

At a time when youth unemployment is as high as 60 percent in some Pacific countries, Afu Billy, says governments seem to be focusing more on academic education.

"So a lot of the scholarships each year goes to going to university but I think academic or the formal employment is saturated. It is the trades areas that still needs young people to be involved in them. I think that is where the money is, now."

But Afu Billy says another challenge is professionalising the trades so that young people will look on them as respected, valuable work.