With limited opportunities in the formal economy, many young people in Papua New Guinea today often face challenges finding suitable employment and in turn are more likely to experience poverty. But two innovative youth programs supported by Australia are helping at-risk and disadvantaged youth gain the valuable skills needed to find employment.
Derek Julius Story
Twenty-five year old Derrick Julius is one of many young people who have benefited from the two youth programs supported by Australia; Ginigoada and City Mission. Through Ginigoada, Derrick was able to complete his on-job training in electrical skills and is working towards achieving a level 1 certificate.
Derrick is currently employed by Electrical Energy Services (EES), a local company in Port Moresby working on the installation and maintenance of electrical lighting works at the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance (PILAG) in Port Moresby.
In 2018, Derrick left his home on Normanby Island in the Milne Bay Province to find opportunities for a brighter future in the capital. “It was very difficult finding employment in Alotau, so I came to Port Moresby but found life in the City was tougher than back home, I worked with two security firms just to make ends meet,” said Derrick.
After numerous attempts at finding a job, Derrick attended Ginigoada Foundation’s Bus Skills program, which he heard about through friends who had participated in the program. “Through Ginigoada I am now two months into my on-job training with EES making my dream reachable,” said the electrician apprentice. “I see my value to the company and know my skills will be able to help many people in future once I am certified.”
Ginigoada Foundation is a faith-based organisation supported by Australia that runs mobile life skills courses in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Port Moresby, Lae and Central Province. Training includes basic literacy, numeracy, cultural diversity and health skills which enables participants to enrol into more advanced technical courses such as electrical, mechanical, carpentry and then on-the-job training.
Caleb Kauna Story
Twenty-seven-year-old Caleb Kauna graduated from City Mission’s New Life Skills Program in 2018. In 2017, he left his native Simbu province to join City Mission’s program in Madang and learnt basic electrical, carpentry and plumbing skills. “For me the City Mission logo will always be dear, as it is about spreading the love of God while meeting human needs. I knew I was going to be helped with what I really needed, both physically and spiritually,” he said.
Caleb is now a carpenter working with local construction company, AGL Limited, and part of the team building a new two storey dormitory at City Mission’s Madang facility. “This is my first job and is the first time earning such an amount out of my own hard work. I was so happy with my first pay packet and did not know what to spend my money on,” laughed Caleb.
Many of City Missions’ cohorts have gained valuable practical experience through on-the-job training with various local businesses in Madang, Lae and Port Moresby. Naime Konobo is a trade skills trainer and the managing director of local company Electrical Energy Services based in Port Moresby. “Through organisations like Ginigoada and City Mission, youth are given a realistic direction, for success in today’s challenging economy and we are empowering youths today with technical knowledge and skills enabling them to apply their learnings to real life situations,” said Mr Konobo.
He added that in addition to providing skills training for higher levels of certification attainment, they are helping youth be more skilled to efficiently improve standards of goods and service delivery, which will help local economic growth and improve living standards for them and their families