Tuvalu wants NZ RSE scheme expanded to include trades
Tuvalus' foreign minister says he hopes to begin negotiating an expansion of New Zealand's seasonal employer scheme to include trades sometime this year.
Tuvalu's foreign minister says he hopes to begin negotiating an expansion of New Zealand's seasonal employer scheme to include trades sometime this year.
Currently the scheme allows people from some Pacific Islands to pick fruit in New Zealand, but Taukelina Finikaso says he wants the scheme expanded to trades that will provide people with skills to take back to Tuvalu.
Mr Finikaso told Jamie Tahana that while the scheme is popular in Tuvalu, it would be good for people to gain skills and qualifications in things such as building or carpentry.
TAUKELINA FINIKASO: Right now, we have an existing scheme which provides opportunites for young people to work in New Zealand under the RSE scheme. Now we have requested if that opportunity can be expanded to other trades. In this, I mean trades that these young men and young women can take back to Tuvalu.
JAMIE TAHANA: Like building, mechanics and stuff.
TF: Yes, yes, something like that you know and it will be very useful for their lives in Tuvalu because as you know we don't have horticulture in Tuvalu like strawberries and all those sorts of things. So, yeah we're looking to further opportunities and we're quite happy that the minister of foreign affairs understands that and so did the minister for immigration, Michael Woodhouse, that we also met.
JT: So you took that to minister McCully and Mr Woodhouse, how open were they to the idea of expanding this trade thing. Did you get any signals that this could be a thing that could happen in the near future?
TF: Yes, definitely. We requested the minister of immigration for further opportunities on top of the RSE scheme and he mentioned the opportunities first of all of joining the work group in Christchurch, where you need skilled labourers. We have skilled labourers in Tuvalu but we lack the qualifications that they should possess in order to qualify for such jobs and what I gathered is that New Zealand is willing to help to train these workers in order for them to qualify for the standard New Zealand requires for such a scheme and I think what we will do now, we have already a training institute in Tuvalu which is called the Maritime Training Institute and we want to expand that in order to cater for other trades like carpentry and bricklaying so that it caters for such requirements and for our people to be able to apply and get some sort of employment either from schemes like in Christchurch.
JT: So you've had these positive signals from New Zealand in regards to this trade training scheme for Tuvaluans. When would you expect such a thing to be in place?
TF: Well it's early days, but if everything goes well -- pending the elections of course -- I expect to begin negotiating on this in mid-June or July and start the ball rolling on trying to accredit our institution in Tuvalu to be able to train and hopefully we can do that and by 2016 the school should be up and running.
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