Minister for Youth and Sports

Chevalier Training Centre Monday
Wainadoi 24 July 2017

The Director – Fr Simon Mani;
Staff of Chevalier Training Centre
Trainees, Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

Bula vinaka and good morning to you all

I wish to acknowledge the warm reception accorded to me this morning and my entourage.

I also wish to acknowledge the management of this training centre for its effort in providing non-formal education to youths. Your contribution in this sector, and through this centre is building bridges between youths, employers and our nation’s economy. Decent work, is a universal aspiration of young people, which also the ideal mean or the best path to self-advancement of both men and women. It underpins the stability of communities and families. It is an integral component of sustainable growth and development.

And skills are pivotal to this aspect. Skill-based trainings offer sustainable solutions to personal and national development. It provides a platform and opportunities for growth and exchange of ideas and experiences vital for development. These are components non-formal education provides and harness. Non-formal education equips the workforce with the skills required for available or demand-driven jobs of today and those of tomorrow.

The Ministry is aware that every young women and men are searching for employment opportunities. NEC in 2016 recorded 48,000 registered job seekers. Majority of them are ready to transit from school to work; if given an opportunity. Adequate vocational education or training, including in-work apprenticeships and on-the-job experience is always the best option for developing countries like ours. And training centre like yours and the ones operated by the Ministry of Youth and Sports seem to fit in well in meeting demands in these areas.

The Ministry in collaboration with the Fiji Higher Education Commission is striving to ensure that the trainings provided by NFE providers are relevant and are accredited to benefit young people. This will ensure they are able to secure employment, attain further accredited trainings and gain confidence to pursue entrepreneurship if they wish to.

The establishment of the NFE council will strengthen networks between institutions, NFE providers and hope to build solid bridges between the world of learning and the world of work. The Ministry, as NFE custodian envisages that policies are designed and improved to help grow and harness skills to sustain growth and investment and facilitate employment demands. We also wish that you share with others your best practices to help the sector growth that will ultimately benefit all young Fijians.

The Director, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ministry is also the custodian of sports development in the country. We are strengthening our efforts in partnership with the Ministry of Education to promote physical education and physical activity to every young Fijians. Physical education or sports promotes social, cooperative and problem-solving competencies. Teamwork and discipline is encouraged through more competitive activities in secondary schools.

Last Friday I handed some sports equipment to Queen Victoria School. QVS earlier this year, had some bad publicity regarding disagreements amongst students. And also on Friday, the principal of the school was quoted in the daily newspaper saying that ‘sports has brought the students together and have strengthened the bond between students boarding at QVS’. Such is the power of sports. It is an effective agent for social cohesion.

Sport helps youths to become better contributors to society. Young people’s involvement in sport helps them to improve their social interaction, increase their confidence, and improve their listening skills and health. Participation in sport is linked to higher grades, lower dropout rate, reduced truancy and lower crime rates. Youths, play sport to have fun, belong to a group, find excitement and gain recognition. It allows them to improve their skills and learn new ones, become fit, and find “success”.

Sport also has a positive impact on anti-social behaviour, youth violence and crime and can be used as a diversion from crime or as a “hook” to bring participants into a wider and more productive range of activities. Sports or physical activity should be encouraged and promoted as it gives young people valuable experiences that help in learning basic motor skills as well as in social integration, moral and social development and the joy of movement and exploration.

The Ministry spent $40,000 in the upgrade of your ground. Land space don’t allow the Ministry and the contractors to provide you with a standard sized field, however, I believe trainees and the community will immensely benefit from the sports field.

The Ministry in providing sports facilities and equipment wishes to expose Fijians and aspiring athletes to top-level competitions, encourage massive participation, encourage inclusive sports and promote physical activity. The Ministry also envisages that new talents will be unearthed from around Fiji as they access new facilities. Without proper facilities, athletes – gifted or not won’t be able to fully excel in their sport of choice. The Ministry is committed to providing the best and standardised facilities and equipment that will inspire all young Fijians to pursue a sports of their choice.

I hope the trainees and management of the school will fully utilise and enjoy their new facility and become healthier and active. It is my pleasure to hand over the newly developed school ground.

Vinaka vakalevu, Dhanyavad, Shokran and thank you all very much.

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