The Catholic Agency for Justice, Peace and Development

Solomons partner Billy Mae receives OBE

Hard work in education has paid off for Caritas partner Billy Mae of Solomon Islands. He received an OBE recently for his dedication in the field of tertiary education.

Billy has worked closely with us on the design and roll out of our Solomons Strengthening Technical and Agricultural Rural Training (START) programme. He is the Director of the Solomon Islands Association of Rural Training Centres, and his expertise and dedication have been invaluable to START.

Solomon Islands has a very high rate of youth unemployment and a fast growing young population.  Many young people in the Solomons are passed over by the formal education system and left with no qualifications. This is where the Rural Training Centres (RTCs) come in. They teach young people practical skills in the fields of agriculture, carpentry and mechanics, which they can use to find gainful employment.

“START is one of the best programmes we have because it really raises the level of our institutions to the level we need in terms of human resources,” says Billy.

The Caritas programme is focused on upskilling instructors and administrators at RTCs as well as conducting research on the linkages between RTCs, the community and the local economy. We work with tertiary institutions in New Zealand to pass on knowledge to tutors in Solomon Islands.

 “We need to create opportunities for youths to participate in the development of the community and run into activities that will sustain their livelihood from the resources they have, have them trained, have skills, provide them incentives and have them form into a group and empower them with support to sustain their livelihood at their rural setting and discourage urban drift.”

When asked about receiving the OBE he said, “Yes, receiving an honour and award has an impact and gets me drive from 80mph to 100 mph. l am motivated and have a passion to serve the country and the skills Technical and Vocational Education and Training sector benefiting the young people and the community as a whole.

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Tutu ana te puehu - Stirring up the dust