Pacific teen unemployment figures alarming
New data shows a huge number of the country’s Pacific Island teenagers are unemployed.
Figures reveal unemployment for these teens is at 43% compared to 4% nationally.
Now, the community is being rallied to get young people into training to counter the possible devastating effects.
“Other countries who are taking it seriously are calling it a ticking time bomb,” said Mangere MP Sua William Sio.
New Pacific Affairs Minister Hekia Parata fronted up to the Pacific community today, knowing that with 43% of Pacific teens aged 15-19 years old not able to find jobs, it will be a tough road ahead.
While the Pacific teenage group only numbers around 30,000, it is a worrying trend.
“Unless these young people have skills, it will be very difficult for them to compete for employment, so we need to be investing in those skills,” Parata told ONE News.
But the latest labour force household survey shows the numbers of Pacific teens not in employment, education or training has increased in the last four years.
“We pay the cost as taxpayers for the harm and damage some of these people might end up doing,” said Sio.
The community is being told to support their children more at school, but for many, the jobs are simply not available.
“It’s real hard because they are looking for so much, they are looking for experienced workers, they are looking for qualifications,” said young job seeker Sitivi Pulepule.
And getting those qualifications is not easy; in this year’s secondary level engineering apprentice course, there were 54 positions available but 267 expressions of interest, so people had to be turned away.
So popular are these Ministry of Pacific Affairs training initiatives that there are not enough places to fill the need.
“One of the problems our kids face is that they are sitting in secondary schools and they have absolutely no idea why they are there, and this is about bringing the industry into the classroom, giving them a purpose why they are there,” Parata said today.
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