The ministry of development planning & aid coordination and the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI) are hosting meetings this week to discuss the findings of an assessment identifying the strengths and priorities of Solomon Islands’ workforce development system.
The assessment looked at the strengths and priorities for turning education into employment, and how Solomon Islands is answering questions that other countries have answered to get their youth from school into employment.
Resulting from consultation workshops held in January and February this year, including Solomon Islands Government’s launching of the national human resource development and training plan (NHRDTP), the assessment seeks to provide practical recommendations for action.
These actions form part of current initiatives such as implementation training plan, the development of the Solomon Islands qualifications framework (SIQF), and the development of new initiatives in vocational training.
“Solomon Islands’ system for education and training is changing. This joint assessment has provided an opportunity to discuss with government, employers and training providers, priorities for our work force development system to work better to get young people into employment, and to get employers the skilled local staff they need”, said Daniel Rove principal planning officer of the ministry of planning.
With new and emerging economic opportunities available for Solomon Islanders, in construction and investment projects, natural resources, tourism, small enterprise, and labour migration, increasing employment and livelihood opportunities is particularly important for women, youth and rural Solomon Islanders.
“Only 20 per cent of Solomon Islands’ labour force is in formal employment, and over 50 percent of youths don’t have jobs. The World Bank seeks to bring experience of what has helped in other countries to support getting young people trained and into productive jobs or livelihoods”, commented Anne Tully, country manager of the World Bank in Solomon Islands.
The assessment has found that overall, Solomon Islands has strengths in developing strategy for workforce development, but moving to implementation has been a challenge.
The geographic spread of vocational training providers helps build opportunities across Solomon Islands, however as pathways are limited, it is not easy for students to progress between different types of training. There is room for improvement in financing and managing training provision.
The assessment report presents six key findings for discussion with Solomon Islanders on Thursday 26th June and Friday 27th June:
1) Policy makers need to sustain coordination by regularly attending inter-agency meetings. Political leaders and employer groups can help to define skills requirements and training standards to support economic development.
2) To build opportunities for the majority of Solomon Islanders, policy-makers should develop strategy and programs to support the informal economy including the skills needed for people to develop their livelihoods.
3) The developing Solomon Islands Qualifications Framework (SIQF) needs to recognise prior learning as a key component, and robust quality standards to ensure SI qualifications are valued.
4) Basic incentive- and efficiency- measures are needed for vocational- and university-level education and training to improve quality and improve outcomes from available resources.
5) So that people can progress from one form of training to another, stronger pathways need to be built connecting the pre-employment education and training system, both by policy-makers and training providers.
6) Existing staff resources can be used to develop capacity to measure education and training performance and jobs demand, including training provider data and a sustainable labour market information system.
The assessment is supported by the World Bank, the Australian Aid Program and the Government of Solomon Islands as part of a joint program of analysis and interventions to assess and strengthen workforce development systems, training and employment.