First report tracking Samoan youth unemployment to help policy

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Researchers working on the Samoan National Youth Council's tracer survey seeking to create a database about youth participation in the economy. Image: SNYC

By Brandon Ulfsby in Apia

A youth employment survey report in Samoa is seeking to inform government policy decisions after its findings take a closer look at young people.

Published by the Samoan National Youth Council, the report highlights the economic and employment status of youth and the reasons behind leaving school and calls for greater inclusion of youth in policy development.

Called the Tracer Youth Employment Survey (TYES), the report was commissioned with the assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and funded by the Australian High Commission in Samoa.

The Samoa National Youth Council tracer report. Image: Brandon Ulfsby/PMC

The survey sampled 790 people aged 18-to-35 years from 14 villages across Upolu and Savai’i and was launched to the public on Monday in Apia.

Results found that out of the sample size, 78.93 percent of young people dropped out of school at primary and secondary level.

The main reason being families could no longer afford school fees with others becoming caretakers for family members.

-Partners-

A 2015 study by the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development’s youth division identified that just over 16 percent of Samoa’s youth were unemployed.

The TYES report found that the most significant challenge to young people in continuing their education is the increasing rate of dependent peoples – elderly and younger children.

Findings found this to be particularly challenging for rural youth.

Priority report hope
The report was funded by Australia as part of its Pacific Leadership program in the region.

Australian Deputy High Commissioner Amanda Jewell says the report gives young Samoans more of a voice and is a priority that they will be looking at with the Samoan government.

“This is like a beginning for us because this particular survey has started and it’s given us some good ideas, and they’ll be some recommendations coming out of that, that we can go forward with.”

Findings in the survey found that despite a majority of respondents being unemployed, over 30 percent of them still identified themselves as “economically active”.

These activities include, crop farming, cooking, family run canteens, part time referees and a florist.

Report recommendations call for greater inclusion of youth in policy development at local and national level.

Jewell says “the priority for the commission here is to work in partnership with the government of Samoa so anything they identify as priority, and obviously by having this report produced it is a priority that we’ll be looking at having with them”.

Brandon Ulfsby is a final year Auckland University of Technology Bachelor of Communication Studies student journalist on a two-week Pacific Cooperation Foundation internship in Samoa.

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