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SAMOA: Youth gain job skills

Salesian education centers prepare poor youth for future employment

SAMOA

(MissionNewswire) Two Salesian educational centers in Samoa are ensuring that youth in poverty are able to access the education they need to have hope for the future. This is important given 50 percent of Samoa’s population is under the age of 20, and youth unemployment stands at nearly 18 percent. Don Bosco Technical College in Alafua and Don Bosco College and Technical and Vocational Center in Salelologa provide education and training focused on teaching employable skills so that all students have the ability to retain long-term employment.

Don Bosco College and Technical and Vocational Center provides a high school education that offers an integrated curriculum with academic and technical subjects. Through the school’s work experience program, students meet potential employers and are able use skills they have learned to gain employment. Dominic College Glenorchy has provided scholarships for poor students who otherwise would not have the opportunity of an education.

Don Bosco Technical College offers a three-year vocational education course for students who finish high school. All first-year students gain an education in a combination of trades including plumbing, motor mechanics, carpentry and hospitality. In following years, students specialize in a trade of their choosing and receive an accredited certificate in their chosen field. After graduation, many students secure employment and are able to help support their families while developing their careers.

The college has its highest enrollment with 40 girls among 180 first-year students. The college also promotes personal, moral and spiritual growth, leadership skills development, and teamwork through cultural and sporting activities. In recent years, enrollment has doubled, but not all students are able to complete their education due to financial difficulties. The school welcomes those who wish to donate to a scholarship fund.

“Salesian missionaries provide education for poor youth who might not otherwise be able to gain the skills for later employment,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “It’s more than just educating students though. Salesians adapt and add new programs to meet local needs and develop skilled labor for the local economy.”

Although Samoa has made impressive progress in social development, many rural communities in the country grapple with an unequal distribution of wealth and benefits. Poorer communities in remote parts of the islands are particularly vulnerable, especially in areas most likely to be affected by cyclones or other natural disasters. Gender inequality is apparent as women strive and often fail to find the same work and income opportunities as men. Youth find it increasingly difficult to find livable wage employment in the country.

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Sources:

Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Annual Report 2021

Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Aid Fund

Don Bosco Technical College Alafua

Don Bosco College and Technical and Vocational Center Salelologa

Salesian Missions – Samoa

World Bank – Samoa

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