THIRTY Solomon Islanders left the country on Monday to work as berry pickers in Queensland, Australia under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme (PALM).
The group that left on Monday consist of 15 men and 15 women who will work under a 4 year contract which is expected to end in 2026.
According to the Labour Mobility Unit (LMS) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and berry picking agents, the 15 women are the first group of women to be recruited for berry picking under the scheme.
One of the new seasonal workers, who left yesterday Anthony Telekou, told Solomon Star that while he is sorry to leave his family behind, he knew that working under the scheme will bring more benefits for his family.
Mr Telekou, who worked as a security guard and is from Duff Islands, Temotu Province, said as a security guard in Honiara he earns only $400 per week but in Australia he will be earning $2000 per week.
“This is the difference and with lack of opportunities to make good money in the country I have to leave because with my wife’s trust and confidence, I know that I can also raise the standard of living for my family as well,” Telekou, the father of three said.
Another new seasonal worker Tiffany Maena from Shortland Islands, Western Province said she is self-employed and as a mother of two girls it had been really difficult for her to support her children.
Therefore, she said working under the scheme will enable her to explore more opportunities for her family.
“I want to reach out, experience and explore opportunities and be productive,” Ms Maena said.
PALM is today engaging over 5000 seasonal workers from Solomon Islands and the number is increasing.
By ULUTAH GINA
Solomon Star, Honiara