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To facilitate the engagement of youths in the tourism industry, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is currently training 30 youths from all over the Western Division on basic Chinese language.

While introducing participants to the Chinese language, the training also familiarises them to the culture and some customs to assist them should they find work.

Facilitated by the University of the South Pacific’s Confucius Institute in Lautoka, the two week training is part of training conducted in the Western Division to empower youths on the job market.

Training coordinator, Karunagaran Nair, said training facilitated by the Ministry is designed to assist youths in their quest for work.

“This training will boost the marketability of the youth in the various workplaces especially for place such as Nadi with its tourist population” said Mr Nair.

“There is a noticeable trend in the number of visitors from China into the country and this has created a demand for Chinese speaking guides which right now is a rare commodity in the country.”

Mr Nair adds that the current batch of trainees will also get an opportunity to take an internationally recognised Chinese Language Proficiency Test and excellent students could be nominated for a Chinese Bridge Competition in China.

“While the course is designed to meet the current demands and build better pathways for success, it also enables the youth to blend with the concept of ‘Thinking Globally Acting Locally’,” Mr Nair said.

Budding Early Childhood teacher Ms Vineeta Latchmi said such training gives more work opportunities for young people.

“I find the training very interesting as it gives me an opportunity to learn a new language and experience a new culture. This will enable me to assist Chinese students when I start my career as an Early Childhood teacher. It also empowers us to be self-employed especially for young women who wish to start their own businesses,” she said.

Similarly reflecting on the training, Ms Evelyn Damuyawa of Tavakubu, Lautoka said learning the language has helped her to become more artistic.
“Chinese language is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Learning the language helps improves the way we communicate with Chinese people and become more understanding of their culture and also helps individuals to become more artistic” Ms Damuyawa said.

“We get to travel and meet new people. More work opportunities and education. I believe that anyone can benefit from learning the Chinese language” she added.

Currently Mandarin Chinese is spoken by over 1 billion people around the world, about one fifth of the global population, and is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world.

The training will conclude this week.