A programme facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, SPC, in Solomon Islands is helping 500 young people improve their chances of gaining employment.

'YOUTH AT WORK' is a partnership between SPC, the Ministry of National Reconciliation, Unity and Peace, and the AusAID-funded Pacific Leadership Program which aims to address high youth unemployment and the shortage of job opportunities in Solomon Islands.

The coordinator of SPC's Solomon Islands country office, Mia Rimon, says the programme gives the 500 school leavers and graduates opportunities to gain valuable work experience while serving as interns in businesses and the Public Service in Honiara.

Ms Rimon says as well as practical work experience, the interns will gain an understanding of ethics and codes of conduct, and skills such as interview techniques and how to write curriculum vitae and job applications.

She adds that they will also be mentored by successful community role models, who will help them build self confidence and set goals.

The SPC Head says they hope that by using community, business and government mentors and partners, they will be able to tackle some of the issues with growing youth unemployment and disenfranchisement.

Ms Rimon says the programme will be extended to the provinces after the first year if it proves successful in Honiara.