Estimated 15,000 young Papua New Guineans set to benefit from expansion of employment and training program
PORT MORESBY, March 9, 2016 — A World Bank-supported program providing thousands of young Papua New Guineans with life skills and employment training has been extended to 2018 with additional funding support of US$ 10.8 million (over PGK 31 million) from the Australian Government.
Australia’s support will enable the Urban Youth Employment Project (UYEP) to impact on the lives of up to 15,000 more unemployed young people by 2018 to help them find positive long-term employment. Over 8,000 Papua New Guineans have already participated in the project since it began in 2011.
Australian High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Mr Bruce Davis said: “This is an important program which helps young people help themselves and improve their lives. Australia is pleased to be able to support such a program, which empowers young Papua New Guineans to contribute to the development of their country.”
Stefanie Stallmeister, World Bank’s Country Manager for Papua New Guinea, said: “Young Papua New Guineans remain disadvantaged in access to employment opportunities. There are more than 40,000 unemployed young people in Port Moresby, many have missed out on completing their education due to their life circumstance.”
“UYEP is filling a critical gap by addressing youth marginalization. This program gives young Papua New Guineans life-changing opportunities, and it’s wonderful that the Australian Government’s support will help this project continue.”
While expanding existing project activities to reach more young people, the additional funding will enable the project to increase the number of literacy and numeracy trainings and improve outreach to women.
Kadive Yamba, a single mother-of-five from Port Moresby, is one of the 8,000 Papua New Guineans who have participated in UYEP since it began. She is a full-time employee at the Papua Niugini Freezers Ltd as an Inventory Assistant after completing her training with UYEP.
“This program gave me my life back,” said Ms Yamba. “My husband left me, remarried and took our five children with him. I was treated like an outcast. With only a Grade 10 Certificate, and could not get a decent job to support myself.
“[Yet] once I was in UYEP, I gave [it] my all, and it has not let me down one bit. That is why when I see the UYEP logo, I am always reminded that my life was saved through this wonderful program.”
Internal surveys of UYEP participants conducted by the World Bank indicate that the vast majority (80 percent) of participating young people believe the project has empowered them to become better persons in their communities, by boosting their self-confidence, and enhancing their employability.
More than half (60 percent) of community leaders also report a perception of less crime in their communities as a result of the project. Over 30 percent of UYEP-trained graduates say they received offers of full-time employment after completing their five-month on-the-job training as part of the project.
“Economic growth has led to a new range of employment opportunities, but these require skills and knowledge that many of our youth, because they have missed out on education opportunities, don’t yet have,” said Hon. Powes Parkop MP, Governor of the National Capital District Commission.
“UYEP is helping to ensure that the youth of our nation can make the most of these new opportunities – in-line with the government’s Vision 2050 plans, and the National Youth Strategy,” he said.
The additional US$ 10.8 million (over PGK 31 million) grant from the Australian Government represents a 60 percent increase in UYEP project funding. UYEP is currently supported by a credit of US$14.1 million (over PGK 43 million) from the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA); US$530,000 (over PGK 1.5 million)from the Korean Trust Fund and; and US$1,580,000 (over PGK 4.5 million) from the Government of PNG and National Capital District Commission.