Bid to bridge gaps

THE historic Pacific Skill Summit is set to commence tomorrow in Suva to explore new approaches in addressing issues faced in regards to skills and jobs.

Speaking at a press conference at the University of the South Pacific the president of the Republic of Nauru and founder of the Pacific Skills Partnership said the theme “Innovation and Skills for a Sustainable Blue Pacific”, was fitting for the first summit.

“Foundational to achieving this is a skills pool that generates new jobs, underpins business success, and supports economic growth while leaving no one behind.

“The region needs a flexible and inclusive vehicle to explore and find new ways to address our skills challenges,” he said.

He mentioned the summit was one of the three start-up elements of the Pacific Skills Partnership, which he launched at the 49th Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru last September.

“My vision for the Pacific Skills Partnership was to inspire and stimulate the creation of new, innovative and practical approaches that will strengthen the Pacific skills pool.

“We all aspire to a region that is inclusive, productive and sustainable.”

The president said when he delivers the keynote address today he would focus on actions at a regional level.

This includes the support of national efforts for skills development, labour market integration and the mobility of Pacific people.

He would focus on strengthening regional collaboration between governments, business and civil society as well as a collaboration between national skills development institutions.

With the inclusion of identifying the responsible stakeholders to pay for these costs as it could be shared by governments, businesses and individuals which could benefit from a stronger skills system.

“We know that there is much valuable work being done in the region on determining and supporting the skills landscape of the Pacific, the future of work, the nature and extent of our challenges, and how skills development can address them.

“We believe more can and should be done.”

With more than 30 speakers ranging from different sectors as well as more than 300 attendees both from Fiji and across the region the summit would establish a regional platform which would boost certain areas.

According to Mr Waqa this platform would strengthen collaboration, encourage investment and achieve a better match between labour market demand and skills development.

“All of this lends itself to driving and supporting a wider regional agenda, espoused by leaders for a safe, prosperous healthy sustainable region.

“This agenda places importance on collective and coherent action and we hope that the summit will push forward this critical Pacific-led agenda to ensure the link between skills development and sustainable development receives the priority it needs and deserves – for the benefit of the people of our Blue Pacific,” he said.

According to the chair of Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) Kaye Schofield, they have been working on skills development and training across the Pacific for the past 12 years. With more than 14,000 Pacific Island graduates with international standard qualifications, she said they were pleased to be key partners of the Pacific Skills Summit.

Ms Schofield mentioned the potential of the summit to bring attention to the critical issues of training, skills and jobs as well as encourage greater investment in skills training.

“It will also seek out ways to reform and even transform our education systems at all levels to meet our current and future skills needs,” she said.

“We recognise that the Pacific is doing much valuable work to determine the skills landscape of the region, the future of work, the nature and extent of our challenges, and how skills development can address them.”


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