By : Oki & Sally Rummery

Tempotimor (Dili) -Changes to budget funding in Timor-Leste’s tourism sector have halted the industry’s development progress of basic amenities in tourist areas, with the government instead concentrating on large scale projects.

By Oki, Isac & Monty Jacka

Temptimor ( Dii) : the Principal Maritime boundaru Negotiator, Xanana Gusmão recognized, 30 August as the historical day for Timor-Leste and Australia.

Sally Rummery

A meeting with the Council of Ministers has seen a proposal for resolution legislation needed to ratify the Maritime Boundary Treaty between Timor-Leste and Australia successfully submitted to the National Parliament.

Tempotimor (Dili): Eis Prezidente Repúblika José Ramos Horta, kongratula xefe negosiadór prinsipal Xanana Gusmão ho ninia ekipa téknika iha Parlamentu Nasionál, hodi aprezenta proposta lei hirak ne'ebé importante ba ratifikasaun tratadu fronteira marítima Timor-Leste ho Australia. 

TempoTimor (Dili) - Secretary of State for Professional Training and Employment (SEFOPE) Julião da Silva accompanies Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak on the visit to the CNFP-Tibar Training Center to see and observe directly the training activities in the center (08/04).

Qualified human resource and lack of jobs are a major problem contributing to unemployment in Timor-Leste. Furthermore, students who graduate, from secondary schools and universities, in large numbers have caused existent jobs incapable of absorbing all of them

Each year, universities produce more than 15.000 graduate students. Of this number, only a few, at least 10%, are able to find employment, while the majority cannot get a job.

Reality shows that whenever government or private institutions open job vacancies, there are so many people applying for jobs. Despite the fact that the vacancy is open to five positions, however, there are hundreds of people who submit their documents.

Based on the policy of the 8th Constitutional Government, 60,000 young people will be employed every year. From this figure, the State Secretariat for Professional Training and Employment (SEFOPE) will contribute 6000 potential workers each year.

In order to accomplish this policy’s goal, the State Secretary for Professional Training and Employment (SEFOPE) Julião da Silva wants to reposition SEFOPE on its right track.

“The true goal of SEFOPE is a Secretariat of State to train and empower people to be professionals in order to access job market”, SEJulião said.

With this policy in mind, Secretary of State Julião started paying more attention to the training centers, whether public or private, that received accreditation from the National Institute of Labor Development (INDMO) to improve the quality of these training centers.

The major problem faced by these training centers in preparing people to access the available 666 job markets is that some training centers are not good enough to establish a training subject to respond to market demand, making it difficult for trainees that they produce to access the job market.

Mr. Julião gave an example of some training centers in Lospalos, Lautem municipality, which provided training in administration and computer, but in reality the job market in Lautem needs more carpenter, hospitality and bricklayer.

The Secretary of State for Professional Training and Employment (SEFOPE), Julião da Silva, presented the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste and the Government of Australia, on the participation of Timorese citizens in the Pacific Labor Scheme Program, to the Council of Ministers for further approval at the Government Palace (03/20). Photo: Suplai

Below are the complete statements made by Secretary of State Julião (SEJ) in an interview with journalist of Tempo Timor (TT) at his office on Wednesday (17/04).

TT: Mr. Secretary of State, we would like to start with you. Was there any thought on your part to be a Secretary of State?

SEJ: No. There was never any thought to become a secretary of state. But the vision to contribute to this country, I do have. So starting from 2002 I only had  this vocation for training. I went to provide trainingacross the country and abroad, involving myself in civil society, including in national and international agencies. I love reading and writing. I had this passion to establish small NGOs to seek financing, and I loved working in the municipalities to know directly any problem that exists to find their solution.

Thank God, I can now take up this post (Secretary of State). This is a decision of nature, to strengthen  me even more. I'm happy to come  to SEFOPE because we have a very strong team.

TT: Mr. Secretary of State, you are a new generation leader, what is your thoughts when working together Prime Minister of TaurMatanRuak who is also a veteran?    

SEJ: I’m proud. I told the Prime Minister “Father, I'm  proud because I was not yet born when you started the fight for independence in the jungle, but now I fully support your mandate because presently you  command  me. You used  to command my father in clandestine era, but now you command me towards development, I’m your soldier, that is why I’m very happy working directly with you”.

When can we have more privileges like this, being able to work together with our senior leaders.Simply knowing is one thing, but getting guidance  to serve such as: “Julião, you shall not do this,” when we make mistakes he guides us, when can we have that kind of opportunity? So I think it's a great privilege to serve together with our senior leaders who are still alive.

When I accepted this position, Dr. Horta called me, gave me advice to accept and serve. Dr. Mari also called and gave me advice to serve.

I have always followed Dr. Horta, big brother Xanana, the current Prime Minister, the current President of the Republic, and other senior leaders’ thoughts through YouTube. Once a week, I listened to their remarks on videos, such as the remarks of the late Commander Daitula. I listened to them and took the interesting lessons for daily practice.

TT:Following your appointment as Secretary of State, what is your main program for SEFOPE?

SEJ: What I want to emphasize here, as I have said everywhere, we need to introduce and bring back the real vision of SEFOPE to the right track. SEFOPE’s real goal is a secretariat of state to train and empower people to become professional in order to access job market. We are going to prepare a qualified labor, meaning we want to have a better qualified and skilled worker for the future.

We all know that based on the last 10 years statistic data, unemployment in our country stands at 11%. We also know that each year universities produce graduates students more than 15,000, however unfortunately, of  this huge number only 10% are able to find job and 90% cannot find job or it is hard for them to do so.

The 8th Constitutional Government also has its policy to employ 60.000 young people annually. Of this number, SEFOPE will contribute 10%, which implies 6000 young people annually. SEFOPE must take these young people to access employment through SEFOPE’s own policy. 

After being sworn in June 2018 to this date, we try to elevate the quality of all training centers, such as Tibar training center and Becora Senai Center, including private training centers which have received accreditation from the National Institute of Labor Development (INDMO), an institution that is directly under SEFOPE authority, and further provide accreditation for certification.

We should improve the quality of training centers, because more than 30 training centers have been accredited and around 80 are applying for the accreditation process. Furthernore, we must also seek to provide support to the training center in order to increase the quality and skills of our people. When we talk about the quality of training center, it is not only about infrastructure but also involving training center trainees, support them with good quality facilities of based on proper available standards.

Our other policy underpinning our vision for the future is for training centers that will provide their training, it should be based on job demand. For example, we did a small research in municipality of Lautem, there each family has certificates in Administration and Computer courses, so complete. However, the market for these courses is relatively small. Employers need more people with skills in carpentry, hospitality, plumbing, bricklayer, but these skills are not widely available.

Currently, the Government is planning to have oil and gas pipeline coming to our shores. The investment has been made for Greater Sunrise, and soon they will start the construction of Tibar port. For the construction of these mega projects, how many bricklayers, carpenters are required? How many plumbers, how many electricians are needed?. Now when we train people in the training center, the goal should be to provide training based on job market demand so when they finish their training they are ready for employment.

The other thing is the Prime Minister Office has entrusted SEFOPE to establish the best training center in the South East Asia region. Thus, every year it should provide training to more than 15.000 Timorese to be skilled in the area where the demand is high. So we are now assessing, I hope this year we can initiate the construction, because we have identified the site, but not only this, the infrastructure that we are going to build must also has proper system to provide support to our trainees.

If this training center is in accordance with ASEAN quality, our people's quality should also base on this level. We already have this in mind. It is hoped that this year we will begin the construction and next year we can start putting the training center in full operation.

We also work closely with private training centers. Recently, we signed an agreement with international private training centers such as AISA, CONECTO and SOLS. In the near future, we will work together with other training centers so that they can help providing training to people, some will go in search for job market to accommodate potential job seekers. To prepare our labor force to access the labor market, we must work hard to improve the quality of our training centers.

TT: After assuming the post of Secretary of State for 11 months, what kind of work and achievement have you done?

SEJ: When we were sworn in and came here, I notice the data base system, we do have it but the quality is too low. We need to improve the data base. What is the data base? Since the 1st Government until 6th Government, we ask how many people have been trained? Where are they now? What do they do? We don’t have this information.

The data base is important to help our students and young people who were trained, so that when the investors come here and if they need carpenters, they can directly check in the data base system. They just simply click the data base because it is online, once they click it they will know how many carpenters are available in Timor-Leste, the number of levels, the number of skills, what level they are in. How many bricklayers available here, numbers of people trained in the area of hospitality, all this sort of data. So we are all here to improve the data base system.

The other thing is the program to send workers abroad. We know that in the 6th constitutional Government in 2012, an agreement was signed with the Government of Australia on a program called Seasonal Worker Program (SWP). We send our workers to work in Australia for six months. Starting in 2012, according to the data base, which we have, in maximum we have been sending 300 people annually. In our (SEJ Julião’s) mandate, we are sending more than 1,000 workers to work in Australia.

As you know, the first selection of the SW Program was conducted in Dili, however in our mandate we open opportunities for young people in the municipality, so recently we conducted selection in 13 municipalities. The list that I have, shows more than 30.000 people who have applied to SWP. All these young people have their Identity Card (B.I.) and more than 25.000 already have a passport, which is good because it shows many people in the villages are starting to look for job. Those who came from Kelikai and Baguia who before never knew, have actually participated in tests. Young people in FohoremSuai who never knew about this program, they came to do the test. We provide equal opportunity to everyone so that people feel that this system is being delivered to the rural areas for them to access.

In December last year I made a work visit to Australia to meet the Australian Government, held negotiation with them so that Timor-Leste could participate in a program called Pacific Labor Scheme (PLS). This program is only for countries that are part of Pacific region, we do the lobby to access the program and they are happy to accommodate us.

They sent one of their officials here and talked with Mr. Prime Minister. Recently, in the first week of April, we were able to sign the agreement approved by the Council of Ministers. We did not sign the agreement in Sydney to participate in PLS program in order to send our workers to work in Australia with a duration more than three years, instead we did it here. This is a progress that we have made. Every year they need more than 1000 workers.

TT: Mr. Secretary of State, can you explain the difference between PLS and SWP, and is there any other cooperation established by SEFOPE?

SEJ:The difference between PLS and SWP is that SWP comes with a duration of six months and we can send our non-skilled workers. However, with regard to PLS, we have to send medium-skilled workers. They must speak good English, if they are carpenters they must be certificated with standards course by accredited training centers. Therefore, given the requirement of the work, we need to better prepare our people.

We also signed an agreement with the Korean Government through KOICA to continue with the existent programs. Now the differences which we made in the past 10 years, the Government of Timor-Leste through SEFOPE has invested  an amount of $1.3 million per year for this course, but what happened?, There were 25.000 East Timorese trainees  who took the course, but only 20% who had the opportunity to work in South Korea. So 80% failed, and then only Koreans who teach the course.

We made changes last year. We established an agreement with them that saying "If you want to continue this program to support the Government of Timor-Leste. You should increase the number of quota. East Timorese who knows Korean language should be allowed to teach as well.” We reduced the $1.3 million fund, we cut 40 percent of it, only 60 percent of previous amount remains which implies only $800.000 to be used for the program.

There used to be only 25 students who participated in the language training. But there are now 3000 students actively participating in the training. Recently, more than 6000  have been competing, doing testing in GMT. Of these 6000 people, 3000 were selected, now they are doing training. We have five Timorese who have become teacher assistants and they are teaching as well, so in the future Timorese will take over in teaching the course because we have enough human resources for the purpose.

We have further negotiation with the Government of Japan. The Japanese Government is interested to bring our East Timorese workers to do On the Job Training in Japan. So our young people will go to work but also learning at the same time during their three years stay in Japan. However, we have not established an agreement for this initiative, our technical team  are working on how to make official the requirements or terms of reference between Timor-Leste and Japan, but it is hoped that this year we can have this agreement signed in order to initiate Japanese language training with proper standard applied in all municipalities.

We have also certified youths who finished their studies in the areas of electricity, maritime, and petroleum. A number of these young people under our responsibility have been certified so that they have the opportunity to work in large companies. Now we are providing training for young people from Viqueque municipality, particularly in Beasu where more than 30 people are participating in the training, getting them ready to work in Beasu LNG project.

We are designing a plan to prepare workers for the LNG and Greater Sunrise projects, which will come in the near future. They are trained on how to work offshore, how to work in mechanics, how to become bricklayers, electrician and etc.

Our other achievement is the recent signing of an agreement with Conoco Philips to collaborate in the future. Government of Canada approached to assist Timor-Leste in order to have this opportunity for Timorese workers to work in Canada using only Timorese passport. This year, Malaysia needs more than 30.000 Timorese workers. The job in demand is part of On the Job Training, meaning people work and learn during three years, but they also get paid for their work and once they come back here they are more experienced.

On May 29, we will open a training on how to drive heavy vehicles which take heavy loads (Alat Berat). We will provide training to for people to have driving skills of heavy vehicles such loader, excavator, asphalt paving vehicle, ten wheels truck and etc. We must provide training, otherwise people will only use foreign labor force. Many East Timorese know how to drive excavator but they don’t know how to do maintenance. The employers would say this worker is useless and gets fired, they then prefer and demand workers from Philippines and China. We train our people not to only know how to drive trucks but how to also do maintenance, so investors and employers are pleased with this quality level.

In the near future, we will speak with company that is constructing Tibar port to identify how many workers they need. We will talk to companies which will rehabilitate the Baucau airport, Comoro airport etc. We are preparing our people. Provide them with training. Not only this, we have also opened a training center in Oekusse to respond to our Oecusse new airport with international standards and also the ZEESM projects. Hospitality, tourism, all these small things we should have. We must employ our people, our people shall be our priority, get them with proper skills and ready to access labor market.

Tempotimor (Dili) - Autoridade Aviasaun Sivíl Timor Leste (AACTL) fó ona autorizasaun ba Aviaun Trans Nusa atu halo operasaun ba rute Dili Kupang, hahu 14 Juñu 2019.

Tempotimor (Dili) – On Monday received a press released JICA office in Dili state that On Saturday 25 May 2019, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV) held 10th anniversary event at Timor Plaza to introduce volunteer’s grass roots level activities and achievements with some introductions of Japan’s cultures, such as  Japanese dance, Aikido, drama & music, and fashion show. In this occasion, Japanese Internatinal Cooporation Agency (JICA) is also celebrating the numbers of volunteers that has been reached 100 since first dispatch.