PRESS RELEASE - 28th January 2011 - A new group of five young people from member countries of the Pacific Islands Forum have been placed in the various Programmes of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva, Fiji under the Young Professionals Scheme.

The Young Professional Scheme, an initiative born out of the Pacific Plan endorsed by Forum Leaders in 2005, and started in 2007. The Pacific Plan Initiative calls for exchanges and sharing of services and expertise for regional capacity building. The Scheme seeks to provide a framework by which outstanding undergraduate and post-graduate students from diverse backgrounds may be assigned to the various Programmes of the Secretariat.

"About 10 young people from the region have gone through the Scheme since it began and have left to go back to their countries after enhancing their educational experience through work assignments within the various Programmes of the Secretariat," Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat said when welcoming the new group of Young Professionals.

"Forum Leaders have acknowledged the lack of skilled human resources as an impediment to the successful implementation of the Pacific Plan initiatives at the national level and the Young Professional Scheme is one of the avenues to help alleviate the problem," Mr Slade said.

The five new Young Professionals have qualifications in Human Geography, Human Rights and International Policies, Politics and Sociology, Accounting as well as Economics and Management, and Public Administration. They have been placed in the Political Governance and Security; Economic Governance; and Strategic Partnership and Coordination Programmes as well as the Corporate Services of the Forum Secretariat.

The new group of Young Professionals come from Fiji (2), Tonga (1), Nauru (1) and Papua New Guinea(1). Their appointments were made after the positions were advertised throughout the region. Their appointments are for several years.