Solomon Islands’ youth seek new paths to employment

updated By Talisa Kupenga
Local youth in Solomon Islands - Photo / Rewi Heke

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters discussed employment opportunities in the Solomon Islands and met with Youth trying to carve new job opportunities for their future.

Some children in Honiara leave school early to make a living at the markets but those working here say it’s a struggle.

Peanut and vegetable stall owner Diana Manele says, “We struggle just to grow the plants, all of the produce, getting it here is also a struggle because we don’t have good roads and this is the work we do every day, the struggle is every day."

Forty-percent of the more than 600,000 locals are under the age of 15. They want to work, but people outnumber the number of positions available.

Some youth are trying to forge a new path forward through dance and choreography.

Jordan Agika says, “Dancing is also an international sport in the modern days so we just want to take up a career as dancers and we’d like to build up the Solomon Islands [dance reputation] as well.”

Honiara Youth council youth manager Mary Manele says, “It is possible, the entertainment industry, but it is a challenge when employers don’t take dance and music seriously.”

A voluntary scheme Manele helps run assists drop-outs who have not yet found a job to access work experience, to find employment that suits them.

More than 600 regional seasonal workers came to New Zealand from the Solomon Islands last year.

Minister Peters says more jobs are on the way, “It’s a win-win for our economy and it’s a win-win for the Solomon Islands’ economy and over the next few months you will see a change announcement about those levels of seasonal workers.”

Peters leaves for Port Vila, Vanuatu on Thursday.