A total of nineteen (19) seasonal workers from Ovalau Island return today to work for employers Bostock New Zealand and Vinepower Limited under the Recognized Seasonal Employer (RSE) Work Scheme in New Zealand.

These returning seasonal workers will be working for a period of 7 months. During the first 3 months they will be engaged in apple picking with Bostock New Zealand in Hasting City, North Island and will complete the remaining 4 months with Vinepower Ltd in Bleinheme Town, South Island pruning vineyard field.

The Permanent Secretary for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Mr Osea Cawaru while closing the Pre-Departure Orientation earlier this week in Levuka, thanked the group for their commitment and dedication in building and maintaining good relationships with the employer and their co-workers.

“Congratulations on your achievement and I also thank your individual families, the ’Lotu’ and ‘vanua’ for their support. Without your commitment, the Government will not be able to fully roll-out this initiative in improving living standards for all Fijians.”

“You must set clear goals and work towards it. Maintain your good work performance as this will open-up more employment opportunities for other Fijians,” urged PS Employment.

The Ovalau Team Leader Sitiveni Sovakowaqawai who is also the Turaga-ni-Koro for Tavia Village of Tikina Bureta was very appreciative towards both the employers for giving them another opportunity to work under the scheme.

“We are indeed so grateful with the employers for the opportunity given last year and again for putting their trust in us for another chance to work under the scheme this year,” said Sovakawaqawai.

“I also thanked the Fijian Government for this employment opportunity and as an unemployed Fijian residing in the isolated rural community, to be employed for overseas employment is a dream come true,” he added.

To strengthen the commitment and dedication of the workers towards this Government initiative, the Pre-Departure Orientation was conducted with the presence of the ’vanua’, the ‘Lotu’ and spouse of the workers is the first for this initiative.

Through this, the ‘vanua’ has shown their support and also assured that their workers will deliver as required by the Government of the day for the successful roll-out of the seasonal work initiative.

The Permanent Secretary for Employment further highlighted that the Ministry is working towards having a Liaison Officer both in New Zealand and Australia under the seasonal work scheme and programme to establish productive inter-stakeholder’s relationships with Fiji. This will secure more employment opportunities for Fijian and at the same to market Fiji’s workforce to recognized seasonal employers as a source of reliable seasonal labour and ensuring the sustainability of the scheme and programme.