Breaking barriers at the Samoa Youth expo 2017

“Providing young people with pathways to access local and regional career opportunities, and the skills required to gain employment.” 

That’s what the inaugural Samoa Youth Expo 2017, scheduled for Tuesday 24 October, at the United Nations Complex in Tuanaimato, plans to do.

The Expo is being organised to showcase the wide range of employment, business and education opportunities available to young people, right here, in Samoa. 

Under the stewardship of One U.N, and in partnership with the Samoa National Youth Council (S.N.Y.C.) and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.), the Expo will bring together key government and international agencies, public and private sector representatives, entrepreneurs and local businesses, and volunteer, education and training providers, to deliver a day jam-packed with information, inspiration and advice for young people looking for work, or thinking about tertiary or vocational training. 

Organisers are expecting more than 1,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 35 — including youth travelling from wider Upolu and Savaii, and youth with disabilities — will attend the Expo. Organisers are also expecting a small contingent of young people from Tokelau to attend. 

Programme Co-ordinator for Samoa National Youth Council, Taimalelagi Kaisarina Salesa, spoke about the very real problems that face youth in Samoa and that their needs required practical solutions.

 “We hope that the Samoa youth expo will be a continuous annual event,” she said. 

“The theme for this year’s expo is ‘breaking barriers’ and this alludes to the barriers that young people encounter such as the inability and the incapacity to understand how to write up a C.V, how to conduct an interview if they are shortlisted.” 

Other barriers include for the low income earners, is the ability to travel into the city area from the far rural areas and to actually seek employment.

“For young women, the barriers they mostly face is the lack of daycare and babysitting services available to them so that they can have the opportunity into town and to build the capacity so that they can become  more employable and seek employment.” 

“This event we are looking at targeting early school leavers and youth in the rural areas and also looking to register young professionals/graduates who have not yet entered the labour force and we hope that on the day of the event the integration or the knowledge sharing of our young graduates and your professionals, our early school leavers and rural youth will find it very difficult to seek employment.” 

The unemployment rate for Samoan youth is at 16.4% and rising with the worst affected in the rural areas, while the results are dismal, Ms. Salesa is realistic yet optimistic about the future should all partners continue to work together in relentlessly pursuing a solution. 

“While the issues and data may seem alarming at times, I am confident because for the first time government partners and ministries and C.S.O’s are working together in partnership.” 

“So it would be very neglectful of me to say that we can solve the unemployment problem in one go but what we can do is build the capacity of young people not only to become youth leaders at their villages but also to take the initiative to become a job creator rather than a job seeker.”

 “This is another aspect of the youth expo that we are wanting to promote, its not only about young people coming to learn about existing employment services that various organisations will be representing through the booths but it is also to ensure that the young people that participate on this day can actually see the reality and get to understand that you don’t need a degree to be a job creator, you don’t need a lot of money to start your business but what you do need is an opportunity and so this is what the youth expo is all about, its really about setting out and putting out the available opportunities that’s there.”

According to their press release, as well as the employment, education and training exhibits, there will be food stalls, competitions and fun activities, and entertainment and guest speakers on the Expo’s main stage. 

Should you be interested in registering as an exhibitor for this event, please email [email protected] for further details.

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