“Honesty is the best policy.”
That is the motto behind the 2017 Internship Programme, which is an initiative between the Chamber of Commerce and the Youth Employment Programme.
This programme kicked off in 2015 with 16 interns but that number has increased to 49 this year.
Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Lemauga Hobart Vaai, said the programme is all about finding employment opportunities for young people.
“For the Chamber of Commerce it’s giving the opportunities to upskill the young youth for employment in the private sector,” said Lemauga.
He said the programme allows interns to gain work experience in a formal setting and skills that can further their chances of securing employment.
Monday was orientation day. That was when interns got to meet the employers. They were then put through the Chamber’s soft skills training.
“This training is basically where they learn basic but essential and important aspects of the working life. We inform them about leadership skills where they need to turn up to work on time. And things such as financial literacy.
“And then we teach them how to keep their jobs.”
The programme runs for 10 weeks.
“The ten weeks is all about us giving them the capacity, giving them the skills to make sure that they perform but they become employed in the long run.”
The programme also caters for school drop-outs and college graduates.
“We also have kids from Savai’i who gave up their study to help their families. These kids eventhough they never completed their education, they are still highly skilled in terms of soft skills, such as honesty.”
The employers who are part of the programme have one desire and that is they want their employees to be honest.
“Its doesn’t matter whether you’re qualified or not but the positive attitude and the honesty is what the business community looks at.”
He referred to one of the interns who is now working full time at the Chamber of Commerce, Toetu Asiata.
“There were two interns, Toetu and the other one who is more qualified. But because of his unique characters and most of his sincere honesty is why he has a full time job with Chamber of Commerce.”
“Toetu always turned up at work early and he just did his work diligently and that’s why we took him on board.”
Toetu also spoke to the Samoa Observer and noted that he had to leave his studies to help his family.
“Honesty is the best policy,” said.
“Even if it’s cleaning, you know, just do it properly. You may be a cleaner today and tomorrow you may be the manager, but it all comes down to honesty.”
Top chef and businessman, Joe Lam, has three interns he intends to train and hopefully be full-time employees at his restaurant.
“Three students are coming on board, they are doing internships at Scallini’s. Two will be waiters and one will be in the kitchen to learn to be a chef,” he said.
“Honesty is a big problem in Samoa... just being honest. That’s a quality that we desperately need, honesty.”
“If they turn up at my door and they are honest, I can teach them all the others skills that comes with the job.”
“It’s just one of those things we have a problem with is honesty. It’s not necessarily with stealing but also honesty in terms of attitude. We need employees who walk the talk, it’s simple as that.”