Lack of opportunities impacts Fiji youth

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Minister for Youth and Sports Jese Saukuru speaking in Parliament. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

THE lack of economic opportunities has led to extreme poverty within communities, leading young people to loiter around urban centres, live on the streets and engage in illegal activities such as growing marijuana.

This was highlighted by Youth and Sports Minister Jese Saukuru in Parliament on Wednesday.

“We have a very young population; current figures indicate that up to 70 per cent of our population are youths under 40,” Mr Saukuru said.

“This is significant and indicates the challenges we face as a country regarding full employment to ensure our economy continues to grow. With unemployment among youth comes a host of socioeconomic issues such as mental health problems, domestic and gender violence, alcohol and drug use and crime.”

In addition, Mr Saukuru said being unemployed was associated with the risk of death by suicide, and that this negatively affected the physical well-being of young people.

To curb such issues, the ministry launched a Youth Career Fair as part of the International Youth Day Celebration last month in which 2990 youths were registered.

“Youths were interviewed and absorbed directly into the workforce,” the minister said.

“A total of 83 recruitments were made during the International Youth Day celebration. As of this week, 600 youths are currently training on the job prior to full employment.”

Mr Saukuru said the ministry would continuously engage with employers and ministries to drive partnership in addressing the increasing unemployment of young people.

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