Honourable Jone Usamate officiated at USP’s 2017 Entrepreneurial and Career Fair at the Laucala Campus.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) has been commended for endeavouring to provide the best stage for career and entrepreneurial development.
Honourable Jone Usamate, Minister for Employment, Productivity & Industrial Relations paid tribute to USP while launching the 2017 Entrepreneurial and Career Fair at the Japan-Pacific ICT Centre on 1 May, 2017 at the Laucala Campus in Suva.
He urged employers and organisational representatives to be committed to this initiative by the University and help to provide employment opportunities to USP graduates.
“Like all other institutions of higher learning, USP constantly faces the challenge of providing the best career opportunities to match with students’ career choices in the employment market.
“The launching of the 2017 USP Entrepreneurial and Career Fair tonight is appreciated and it follows on from the event which was launched in 2013. It is testimony to the commitment and vision of this institution in providing a platform for aspiring graduates,” he noted.
Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Learning and Teaching and Student Services welcomed Honourable Usamate saying the Fiji Government has always been very supportive of this annual programme.
“Careers is always a major focus of USP as we address the needs of the region but also a measure of the evaluation of USP’s programmes in terms of how relevant these are in meeting jobs in the market. This is why we conduct this Fair.”
“The Government of Fiji and indeed the region is interested in entrepreneurship because it wants to see graduates potentially see themselves as employers and not just employees and that is an important part of economic and social development. That is why we recently incorporated entrepreneurial workshops during the Career Fair and the purpose of course, is to create employment rather than just being employed,” Professor Coll said.
Honourable Usamate mentioned that making the right career choice is an important decision as it has an impact on one’s life.
He said as part of this event, students will be taught entrepreneurial skills and make them more enterprising in creating employment rather than waiting to be employed.
“We need more entrepreneurs. We need University students to know that getting a job after University is not the only way forward. You can also become job creators for others by starting businesses,” he added.
“Globally we know that small and micro enterprises employ the greatest number of people. Government has a very strong focus on this sector, as seen by the recent plans to establish a National SME Council that will be chaired by the Prime Minister himself,” Honourable Usamate noted.
“Employment and job creation is critical for Fiji. Entrepreneurship is an important vehicle for improving the quality of life for individuals, their families and communities, thus contributing positively to sustainable socio-economic development and growth for Fiji and the region,” he stated.
He explained that Government’s commitment to reduce unemployment is multi-phased with a strong emphasis towards providing a level playing field for everyone to gain meaningful employment as well as a fair distribution of the economic gains.
Working with its tripartite social partners, Government he said, has successfully transformed Fiji’s labour market by modernising its policies, legislations, institutions and practices to ensure the provision of safe, productive and good faith employment relations to all workers and employers in our nation.
Honourable Usamate also urged USP to align its programmes to the Fiji Qualifications Framework under the Higher Education Commission “so that graduates can build on their qualifications”.
“Seamless development, life-long learning - that is the mantra that all educationists speak about but we have not fully exploited the systems already established in Fiji to achieve this end,” he added.
“We as a country and our learning institutions in particular need to make better use of the national systems that we already have in place that will facilitate employment and planning,” he added.
The intent of the National Qualifications Framework is to develop national standards, allow portability of education and training, and mutual recognition to eliminate duplication, raise workforce quality, improve planning of workforce and improve the effectiveness of all sectors including tourism, commercial, industrial, agricultural and agro-processing, among others.
The launch was attended by representatives from Government ministries, the corporate sector, employers, sponsors, invited guests and staff and students.
The week-long Career Fair will include an Employer Exposition with 60 top employers in the country, lunch time seminars on Career Choices and presentations on starting your own business.
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