ABOUT 208 youths have graduated from Youth@Work yesterday after having successfully completed their phase seven of the Youth@Work internship program.
The completion of the program saw the youths excited about the opportunities ahead of them.
The graduation marked the end of the community service and training components of the program with most of the young interns set to complete their internship placements in the coming months.
Naomi Tangi is one of the hopeful job-seeking graduates.
The 20 year old fell very ill recently, and said her desire to get better for the graduation ceremony played a huge part in her recovery.
“I was determined to get better to make the graduation,” she said.
“I really wanted to be part of this as it means a lot to me.”
“The Youth@Work program has taught me a lot of new things. It has given me a strong mind. I feel much better about the future now. I am open to trying any opportunity that comes up.”
Out of the 208 graduates, eight were part of the Youth@Work PLUS program, a new component of Youth@Work that focuses on helping youth with disabilities.
Youth@Work PLUS Officer Josie-Anne Ashley said, she was incredibly proud of the courage the PLUS interns had shown in joining and participating in the program.
“They are an exceptional bunch of young people who have many abilities and I would encourage workplaces to consider taking on one of these PLUS interns,” she said.
During the graduation ceremony held at the museum auditorium, Director of Peace and Reconciliation Reuben Lilo addressed the excited young graduates.
“I see 208 reasons for hope,” he said.
“I see 208 young people who decided they are not going to wait until they are invited to participate in the workforce.”
“I feel hope and optimism that so many youths are working hard to participate in the economic development of our country.”
Mr Lilo encouraged youth to become agents of change and said he was confident they would transform the country.
Australian High Commission First Secretary for Education Jane Bastin-Sikimeti also addressed the interns. She said, her main message to youth was never give up.
“When you are tired and exhausted and still looking for a job… Believe in your own ability. Get up, get out there and never give up,” she said.
The Youth@Work internship program sees eligible youth complete community service, then three weeks of full-time employability and life skills training, followed by a 15 week internship placement alongside additional ongoing training.
About 1700 youth have graduated from the program so far with another 200+ currently registered for Phase 8.
Youth@Work is still seeking internships placements in workplaces around Honiara. To take on an intern email Cindy at [email protected].
Having an intern comes at no cost to the employer. Full support is provided by Youth@Work.
Youth@Work is implemented by SPC, in partnership with the Solomon Islands Ministry of National Unity, Peace and Reconciliation; the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs. Youth@Work is an initiative to tackle youth unemployment in Solomon Islands and is funded by the Australian Aid bilateral programme, with assistance from its partner ministries.