New graduates will be connected to employers through the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Service Employer Connect Framework platform that will allow graduates to find job opportunities for themselves.
Minister for Employment, Agni Deo Singh confirmed this in parliament when questioned by FijiFirst MP Alvick Maharaj on whether they have undertaken any survey or study to ascertain which industry sectors are affected the most and whether any policy initiative has been put in place to address the skill shortages by the private sector.
Singh says the key feature of this portal is for students to find suitable job opportunities, provides an easy application process, efficient recruitment and scheduled interviews.
He says students will need to register and registrations will be verified by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service and the portal will be launched on the 15th of December 2023.
FijiFirst MP Semi Koroilavesau raised that Singh had not answered which sectors have been affected the most.
Singh says all industries and professions are affected as people were chased away just because of the way they were treated.
He says they are now trying to retain and replace them.
The Minister says they are working with the Tertiary Loans and Scholarship Board through Professor Hitendra Pillay of the Queensland University of Technology in the area of priority needs on training and development for the workforce.
He says Professor Pillay and his team have prepared a comprehensive report on priority areas where scholarships will be given in the next three to five years based on the labour market and industry demand.
He says a copy of the report is also given to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of National Planning and is in discussion with the Fiji Higher Education Commission, Ministry of Education, International Organisation for Migration, TSLS and Overseas Development Partners to work on employment survey on the skills gap and exploring new opportunities to strengthen the local institution like APTC.
He says the Fiji Commerce and Employment Federation with the Ministry of Employment is also conducting its survey on the job market that will further assist them in determining the areas that require short and medium-term training and attention.
FijiFirst MP Parveen Bala also asked how much was paid to the overseas consultant and when the survey will be completed.
Singh says the survey has been completed and the report is with the Ministry of National Planning. He did not answer the question on the amount paid to the consultant saying it is a new question.
Singh further says that addressing skill shortages requires a multi-stakeholder approach to ensure that the government can get practical solutions to problems that exist within the industries.
He adds the issue of skill gaps and labour mobility is a global issue and a small economy like Fiji is hit the hardest due to the skilled workers being approached by bigger nations, this is an issue that is profoundly discussed with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that government comes with better policies and programs.
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