Nineteen (19) Solomon Islanders successfully completed a two-week Labour Mobility International Preparation course with the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), aimed at preparing them to live and work in Australia under the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS).
Delivered in Honiara from 2-13 December 2019, the training was APTC’s first-ever pilot project for selected participants who were recommended by the governments of Solomon Islands and Australia.
The course provided participants with introductory information about living and working in Australia as they progress through the labour mobility pathway.
Aimed at mitigating safety, security and health risks abroad, the workshop included components on financial literacy facilitated by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP). Participants also learned digital literacy and work preparedness skills via a gamified application developed by PLAN International, entitled ‘Off to Work’.
A cadet electrician by profession, Shadrach Osuana said joining the PLS to work in Australia will help fulfil his dream of living a better life.
Motivated by this course, Mr Osuana said the knowledge and skills gained had given him confidence, and a fair understanding of how to cope with modern technologies and lifestyle in Australia.
“I’m thrilled to see the Pacific Labour Scheme introduced in the country. This initiative will help people with employment opportunities, to learn abroad and return to make a change in the Solomon Islands,” Mr Osuana said.
Amos Ronnie, an APTC alumnus who graduated with a Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC404013), said he acquired crucial information for working in Australia.
Commending the PLS, he said it was a good initiative for unemployed people with skills.
“The PLS provides an opportunity to unemployed youths in the Solomon Islands. If I got selected to work in Australia for three years, I will be able to support my whole family,” Mr Ronnie said.
Humphrey Hou, a graduate of the University of Papua New Guinea, added that an opportunity to work under the PLS would help improve his family’s standard of living and source of income for a better life.
“The PLS is an important initiative as it helps people achieve financial security. This initiative will especially help the unemployed youths. I am delighted and thankful to be a part of this training,” Mr Hou said.
An important aspect of the holistically developed program included a financial education resource booklet developed specifically for this cohort.
PFIP Financial Education Officer, Olivia Vakaosooso, provided guidance to participants on sound money management while working away from home to ensure they make the most of their earning and saving potential. The financial education booklet and resources will be used for upcoming labour mobility preparation programs, while an extended version will be delivered through the APTC 2 Work Program.
PLAN International also piloted a gamified app, known as ‘Off to Work’ which is a new space for APTC to work in, aimed at raising levels of digital literacy and soft skills associated with work preparedness. PLAN International’s Youth Employment Solutions Digital Project Officer, Cecille Villena, traveled from the Philippines to trial a component of the specially developed gamified app.
The gamified app provided a platform for participants to experience digital learning applications for financial well-being. It also allowed APTC to gain valuable knowledge on how to improve the application for future delivery.
The program concluded with a presentation by Jenny Barile, the Deputy Director for the Solomon Islands Department of External Trade. Ms Barile outlined what is expected of the participants while representing their country in Australia.
Materials and resources used in the delivery of this course will be further refined and incorporated into ongoing labour mobility preparation training to be delivered by APTC across the region for Pacific Islanders departing for work abroad under the PLS.
As Australia’s flagship technical and vocational education and training (TVET) investment in the Pacific, APTC is a centre for training excellence and collaboration with over 12 years of experience and broad expertise working across nine Pacific countries: Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Tuvalu, Tonga and Kiribati.