The Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) is set to launch the Tertiary Entry Level Paid Program (TELPP) in 2024, an initiative aimed at recruiting, developing top-tier tertiary students, and addressing skill shortages.
TELPP offers paid work experience, aligning with students’ academic pursuits and bridging the gap between education and practical application.
Executive Chairman Malakai Naiyaga cited the need to address the loss of skilled and semi-skilled workers across Fiji’s workforce behind the development of the program that spanned over four months, with the assistance of the Australian Tax Office via the Australian Aid.
Candidates will be selected based on their Grade Point Averages (GPA).
Successful TELPP candidates will spend their first year rotating through FRCS departments, mentored by existing staff, with the intention of developing their knowledge. In their second year, candidates will receive comprehensive training in customs matters, followed by assessments. Staff who will take on mentorship roles will be embedded in a mentorship program as part of the organisation’s prep.
Those who meet the criteria will transition into key roles within FRCS.
TELPP participants will earn a salary based on their weekly work hours, with a minimum of 20 hours per week and up to a maximum of 30 hours for those enrolled full-time but only undertaking one unit in a semester (final semester).
Students not under scholarship may also receive unit reimbursements based on academic performance which entails a bonding period of 12 to 36 months, determined by FRCS’s investment level, is required.
Applications for TELPP will open on October 1, 2023, closing at month’s end.
Roadshows are planned, starting tomorrow at the University of the South Pacific, to raise awareness about the program.
USP Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Education) Professor Jito Vanualailai, who was at today’s launch as well, welcomed the initiative.
“The students know there is a future for them – if they are good students with good GPAs, they know they can come to such organisations. If you think about it, these institutions are a lifeline for Fiji. There are the ones that collect our tax which the Fiji Government depends on. So we need brilliant students to be in these institutions, so the continuity of skilled people is very important,” he said.
“And what they are doing now, they are going in that direction. The continuity of very skilled people. If you recall, the director said 35,000 people left Fiji within 16 months, just imagine the level of skills that have left the country so this is a great initiative and I fully support it.”
It is understood that in the pilot year FRCS will take on 10 first-year students.