By ERIC PIET
YOUTHS have to better prepare themselves with trade skills to take up highly-skilled and demanding jobs in the expanding extractive industry in the country, Wewak MP Kevin Isifu says.
He said this in Port Moresby last week when calling for a partnership agreement to be signed between his office and Port Moresby Technical College for establishment of a branch in Wewak this year.
Isifu said he wanted to have youths trained in order to take up jobs in the proposed Frieda mine, when it commenced operations in 2020.
He said many trade jobs in the country had been taken by foreigners while the people either missed out or dwelled on what little opportunities provided.
Isifu attributed this to the former Government’s indecisiveness and lack of planning for young people’s involvement – in terms of employment – in resource projects.
He said it was a pity that the government had never planned for Papua New Guinea’s workforce in the mining and petroleum sector, as seen during PNG LNG project construction.
Isifu said 18,000 foreign trade people were brought in to occupy all skilled positions, leaving locals with labour and clerical jobs.
“When Frieda Mine goes into operation in around 2020, I want to ensure that all Sepik youths, from both East and West Sepik, have trade qualifications to fill up most of the skilled positions in the mining project,” he said.
“I don’t want to see our people being given unskilled positions.
“That is why we, as leaders, must create opportunities for our youths to be trained for the better cuts in the industrial job markets in PNG.”
Isifu said he would send a proposal to Port Moresby Technical College to set up a campus in Wewak, “where I will take a lead in funding its establishment”.
Port Moresby Technical College acting principal Henry Wamaingu said he was happy to partner with Isifu.
He said a similar partnership was also in place with Yangoru-Saussia district, where 50 students had been selected to the college this year.
By ERIC PIET