THE Department of Labour and Industrial Relations had urged OISCA (Organisation for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement) Rabaul Eco-Tech training centre to be prepared to accommodate 166 scholarship students under the Independent Fellowship Scheme (IFS) every year.
Speaking on behalf of Labour Minister Mark Maipakai, department secretary David Tibu told the OISCA director Katsuyuki Sawai, board chairman Sinai Brown and staff that the department, through the scheme, was enrolling 166 scholarships award winners next year at the centre and would be ongoing for the next four years.
He said the Somare Government had fully recognised agriculture as a way forward for PNG in supporting major oil and gas projects already established in the country.
Mr Tibu said the department wanted to work closely with OISCA in terms of providing quality training in agriculture to young people.
The IFS scheme has awarded 600 scholarships to young people all over the country which cost about K3 million alone for training costs per year, and in agriculture, 166 scholarships have been given.
Meanwhile, 19 students who were sponsored under IFS, graduated last Wednesday and were encouraged to make good use of the skills and knowledge attained at OISCA.
Mr Tibu told them that IFS would back them up when they return home to work on their projects.
He said if they needed funding assistance to sustain their projects, they could seek assistance from the IFS “seed money” next year and onwards.