Over 160 “exceptional” interns graduated from the Youth@Work program yesterday.
The Phase 6 interns who began the program in August last year celebrated their achievements at an official graduation ceremony at the museum.
Program Manager Sandra Bartlett addressed the group saying they were one of the best phases of youth to go through the program.
“We have heard nothing but exceptional feedback from employers about this phase of interns,” she said.
“You have been motivated, courageous and hard working and are changing the way our country perceives youth.
“You are the future leaders of our country and in your hands, our country will prosper.
“We are all so proud of you.”
Seif Ples Centre Manager Kim Abbey congratulated the group and said the seven interns who completed their internships at Seif Ples, a sexual assault and domestic violence clinic, did an amazing job.
“Working at Seif Ples is not your usual placement. It is a huge responsibility, as well as a great opportunity to grow and learn how to handle some difficult situations,” Kim said.
“This group rose to the challenge and did an amazing job.”
Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne also spoke at the ceremony and encouraged the youth to never give up.
He explained how when he first graduated from university in Australia there were no jobs available and he was tempted to give up and stop trying.
“No matter how many times you get knocked back, pick yourself up and keep trying,” he said.
Intern Yvonne Sia spoke on behalf of the group and said the Youth@Work program had helped them realise their full potential.
“This program has helped us to believe in ourselves in pursuing work opportunities,” 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 1500 youth have graduated from the program so far with another 500 currently registered for Phase 7 and 8.
Youth@Work is implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, 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.