3 Feb 2011

Head of new Fiji employment centre optimistic about cutting jobless numbers

7:30 pm on 3 February 2011

The head of Fiji's National Employment Centre says he expects the new facility to help halve the country's unemployment rate by next year.

Taito Waqa says it's compulsory for anyone who's unemployed to register with the five-month-old centre where they are channelled into work, training programmes or voluntary activities.

He says more than nine thousand people are now registered with the centre.

"The target now on government 10-point plan of the unemployment as mentioned there is to reduce it from 8.6 percent - that's 8.6 based on the 2007 census figure - to 4.2 percent by 2012, next year, so basically to reduce from 28,000 to about 14,000."

Taito Waqa says the centre is trying to set up an overseas work scheme with four countries.

It is also encouraging retired people to re-enter the work force on an allowance-based scheme in order to train younger unskilled workers.