Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: September 01, 2023

Workforce Training + Job Opportunities = A Brighter Future

Every day, impoverished young people in Papua New Guinea yearn for a better way of life—but the road to get there is challenging to navigate. Salesian missionaries at the Don Bosco Technical School Gabutu, located in Port Moresby, are working to provide the education and marketable skills that youth need to find their way.

“These opportunities are critically important in a nation where far too many people struggle to live on just $1.25 a day,” explains Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “One-quarter of Papua New Guinea’s children don’t go to school because their families simply can’t afford it, and this feeds a perpetual cycle of poverty that becomes harder and harder to escape.”

Salesian missionaries were already focused on disrupting that cycle by improving access to education overall. Now, they’re expanding on the life-changing opportunities of going to school with a new practical internship program that matches student learning to immediate employer needs.

“The foundation of a Salesian education has long been vocational training,” Fr. Tim says. “By learning job-ready skills for in-demand professions, marginalized youth can open new doors into financially stable futures.”

That’s why administrators at the Don Bosco Technical School Gabutu recently partnered with TotalEnergies Papua New Guinea (TEP PNG), a global company leading a major liquefied natural gas (LNG) production project intended to support environmentally sustainable economic growth within the country. The project requires significant specialized knowledge to execute, and one of TEP PNG’s stated goals is to support the development of a skilled local workforce who can fill an estimated 3,000 jobs.

“We are once again excited to partner with another technical institution, to work toward one of the pillars of our national strategy for this project,” said a TEP PNG spokesperson at a launch event held at the school this past July.

As part of the agreement, TEP PNG will initially provide scholarship support for 90 students in technical trades whose skills will make them ideal candidates for construction and production jobs on the multi-year LNG project. Another 90 students will receive scholarships for the next academic year.

“These kinds of partnerships are exactly what our Salesian missionaries seek to establish around the world,” says Fr. Tim. “They empower students to learn new skills and apply them toward stable work that can create better futures for themselves and their country. It’s truly a win-win-win.”

Learn more about our work in Papua New Guinea.

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