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Tools for » Kiribati - KPA 2: Promoting Decent Work through Self-Employment Opportunities for Youth in Kiribati
Project ID:00073280Description:Kiribati - KPA 2: Decent Work
Kiribati One UN Fund
Start Date *: 14 Dec 2009
Economic Growth & Poverty Redu
End Date*: 31 Dec 2013
Country: Kiribati Project Status: Financially Closed
  Participating Organization:   ILO - International Labour Organisat

The ILO Youth Employment Project had been in operation in Kiribati since April 2008. Based on the need , the ILO and its tripartite partners saw the need to mobilize more resource to promote decent and productive employment for young men and women. On 21 December 2009 the ILO tripartite partners (Ministry of Labour, Kiribati Chamber of Commerce & industry and the Kiribati Trade Union Congress) signed the Kiribati Decent Work Country Programme 89DWCP) and highlighting Youth Employment as the 1st Priority.

Kiribati has a highly youthful population. In 2005, 37% of the population were below 15 years of age and the median age was 20.7 years. The population is forecast to continue to grow rapidly and is expected to reach between 119,400 and 140,400 by 2025. The working aged population also grows rapidly with dwindling opportunities to find paid employment. There is almost universal participation in the six years of primary school with a very high rate of participation in Junior Secondary School. With each cohort of 2,500 children, 2,100 enter Form 1 (having taken an average of 7.5 years to complete the six primary classes), 1,800 enter Form 4 (the commencement of Senior Secondary); and 1,450 sit for the Kiribati National Certificate (at the end of Form 5). Relatively few I-Kiribati hold formal post-secondary qualifications.

The major post-secondary training institutions in Kiribati are the Marine Training Centre (MTC), the Fisheries Training Centre (FTC) (see below), and the Kiribati Institute of Technology (KIT) providing vocational training through apprenticeship courses in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Building and Carpentry. KIT also runs shorter courses in secretarial and office skills, English, accounting, computing, and management. It is planned to raise the standards of the institute by joining with the Australian Pacific Technical College. In addition, there are the Kiribati Teachers College which trains teachers for the primary and the junior secondary schools, the School of Nursing, and the Kiribati campus of the University of the South Pacific.

Unemployment rates among school leavers are invariably higher than for other population groups. Recent estimates indicate that between 500-1,000 students leave the education system each year without the necessary skills to obtain employment. When job seekers from other sources are added, the estimated number of new entrants to the labour market each year is about 2,000. Against this supply-side figure the formal economy generates less than 500 new jobs a year (almost all of which are on South Tarawa), so that only a fraction of job seekers is likely to find employment. While paid employment is difficult to obtain throughout the country, the chances are still much better on South Tarawa than the outer islands. This has fuelled the rapid migration from Kiribati’s outer islands to the capital during the past decade.

Given the limited prospects for wage employment in the public and private sectors, a growing number of young I-Kiribati will need to find work in the informal economy if they want to earn cash incomes within Kiribati. ILO has continuously provided support to MLHRD and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives (MCIC) especially in providing short term skills training, such as hair dressing and television and VCR repair, and training in “Start your business” and “Improve your Business”. So far only few trainees have succeeded in starting their own small businesses. This can largely be attributed to a lack of access to finance, although it may also point to the unsuitability of trainees who may not have had an interest in the skills or an intention to set up a business.

Since population growth is likely to be far greater than growth in local employment, and given the environmental concerns of increased population in Tarawa, Kiribati has little choice but to continue to export part of its workforce temporarily or permanently.

The three priorities of this DWCP, including Youth Employment reflect the constituents’ needs at the present time, while also responding to Kiribati’s social and economic needs, corresponding with strategies and activities spelled out in the Pacific Plan, the UNDAF and the KDP. They also take due account of the outcomes of the regional Tripartite Technical Meeting on Decent Work held in Nadi, Fiji, in November 2007, the Biennial Country Programme Review (2006-2007) for Pacific Island Countries, ILO’s past initiatives as well as ILO’s comparative advantages vis-à-vis other UN and bilateral development partners. ILO will concentrate on the following three country programme priorities in Kiribati within the overarching theme of “decent work for all men and women”

(From 2010 Annual Report)



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