AT a recent graduation ceremony held at the Victoria University in Australia, Ms, Irene Paulsen, originally from Buala in Isabel Province was proudly capped as Dr Irene Paulsen, PhD.
In the mid-late 1990s, Irene was the Head of Distance Education of SICHE (now SINU); and earlier she was the Head of English at King George VI Secondary School in Honiara.
Prior to 2006, she worked as a Programme Manager with the South Pacific Centre of the Commonwealth Youth and then followed that with more than 10 years as an academic at Victoria University.
Dr Paulsen received a Victoria University sponsorship under the staff professional development programme to undertake her PhD.
Her PhD thesis investigated the patterns of engagement, achievement and transition for Pacific Islander secondary school students in Melbourne.
In her words, Dr Paulsen said, “I hope that my story will encourage more women and girls in Solomon Islands to study towards higher degrees and to achieve this through making clear goals for themselves, staying focussed and to always acknowledge the various forms of support received along the way.”
Last week in Honiara, 39 Solomon Islanders were granted prestigious Australia Awards Scholarships to study at universities in Australia and the Pacific in 2017.
The Deputy High Commissioner, Mick Hassett, congratulated the scholarship recipients at a pre- departure briefing to help the students prepare for living and studying in a new country.
The Deputy High Commissioner said “Australia Awards are prestigious awards that will contribute to economic and social development in Solomon Islands.”
The Scholarship recipients were joined by Australia Awards Alumni and the Scholarship team at the Australian High Commission who briefed the group about what to expect and how to prepare for living and studying in Australia and in the Pacific.
The 39 students will begin their Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in 2017 in fields including health, education, Information Technology, business, law, engineering, environmental studies and gender.
Also in Honiara last week, the Director of the National Training Unit announced the 2017 Scholarship schedule.
Mr Clement Tito said orientation and awarding of 2017 scholarship will be during the second week of January 2017.
He said travelling arrangement for overseas students will take place during the third week of January 2017 and the travel time for the overseas students would be in the first week of February.
Mr Tito said the NTU had already completed the screening process of in-service scholarship applications but the Pre-service scholarship screening was yet to be carried since many students had failed to submit their transcripts.
He said the NTU had decided to carry out the screening process for Pre-Service Scholarship on January 3, 2017.
Meanwhile, Mr Tito said the NTU was still waiting for students to submit their transcripts and that the final date for transcript submission would be the December 31 2016
In terms of overseas seasonal work opportunities, the Premier of Guadalcanal province is ready to deploy seven more seasonal workers to Canada in 2017 after graduating 27 students recently.
Guadalcanal Province is set to giving an opportunity to send a total of 350 graduates to work in the tourism and hotel industry in western Canada.
According to overseas news services, Canadian businesses will see more Solomon Islanders in their hotel and tourism industry after it was announced that 7 more Guadalcanal CITREC (Canadian International Training & Education Corp) graduates would be making their way to Canada to be employed by a major international hotel chain when the seasonal worker hiring begins early next year.
The Canadian International Training & Education Corp Chairman, Ashwant Dwivedi, told the Canadian media that a major international hotel chain has decided to hire 7 more of the Guadalcanal CITREC graduates on an ongoing basis for the next five years.
The international hotel chain had asked that details not be released allowing government process being completed in a fair manner.
“The employer has already started the process with the Canadian government making an application to seek approval of the Canadian government to hire 7 more of the CITREC-GP graduates. Once the Government of Canada has made its determination those shortlisted GP graduates will be confirmed to their appointment and the hiring process will begin.” Chairman Dwivedi said.
“This is the same process the two current GP graduates underwent who are employed in Canada. We want to ensure that the contract that the Canadian hotel chain offers to GP graduates meets or exceeds Canadian labour laws. Especially in area of salary, compensation and other associated benefits. Therefore it is very important that the Government of Canada, through its Ministry of Labour, is a party to the contract. This binds and protects the rights of the employer and employee,” Chairman Dwivedi said.
“Once again let me tell the nation that Canada does not discriminate salary and compensation it will offer for its citizens and that which is offered to a seasonal worker. However we want to ensure that this policy and principle is well binding between all parties,” Chairman Dwivedi said.
Chairman Dwivedi said that there is significant interest from many others, Canadian Provinces to be part of the hiring process of CITREC-GP graduates.
He said that as this employment is with a major international hotel chain, selected students will be given a pre-departure course of few weeks to make themselves familiar with the hotel procedures which includes and is not limited to service standards which is part of the hotel chains internal human resource arrangement.
“I can confirm that CITREC is in negotiation with 2 more Canadian Provinces who wish to hire GP graduates. We are hoping to conclude an agreement in the coming weeks and we remain hopeful of making an announcement on our achievement.”
In June of this year (2016) 2 GP CITREC graduates entered the Canadian job market working in the restaurant industry as kitchen helpers. Their seasonal employment was between 2-4 months.
In October of last year a high-powered Guadalcanal Government delegation visited Canada and entered into a Labour Mobility Agreement with the Province of Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan is Canada’s Oil and Grain rich province which employs thousands of foreign workers.
Last week, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare praised Solomon Islands growing relations with Canada, saying he looked forward to further strengthening the bilateral ties between the two countries and also fully utilising the labour mobility opportunities which Canada presented.
The Prime Minister said the recent success of two Guadalcanal – CITREC graduates in Canada, as seasonal workers, further presented opportunities for the Solomon Islands Government to consider Canada as a labour mobility partner in areas of tourism and hospitality.
Prime Minister Sogavare made his remarks during his meeting with the Solomon Islands Honorary Consul General to Canada, Excellency Ashwant Dwivedi, at the Prime Minister’s Office.