10 October 2016
The young people emanated great enthusiasm, with faces that could not hide their excitement. They were students making up the 15th batch of participants in Nemangkawi Mining Institute’s (NMI’s) Papuan Bridge Program (PBP), who on that Monday (19/9) were preparing to harvest crops they had grown in gardens at LIP, Kuala Kencana.
PBP is a training program for Papuan fresh graduates of diverse fields of study, providing assistance to make the transition from an educational environment to a professional working environment. The program provides basic training in leadership, computer skills, public speaking, and preparing for interviews to become independent professionals, towards enabling them to compete in the job market.
Sugiarso, a program instructor explained, for the 15th batch, a training pilot project is horticulture entrepreneurship, with PTFI’s PBP collaborating with Environmental Department to provide guidance and mentoring in developing a horticulture business. This is deemed to important, as not all PBP graduates are expected to become PTFI employees. The PBP program is not an employment bond entailing commitment to work for any company or in civil service, but hinges on opportunities afforded and available capacities. Participants are provided with skills and know-how so they do not remain unemployed after graduating, and may either join a work force or engage in an enterprise in commerce or agriculture.
“Horticulture enterprises are deemed appropriate as there is still much land available in Papua, and everyone needs fruits and vegetables. This is a suitable and productive activity if proper diligence and management are applied,” he said.
On the other hand, horticulture enterprise training is also aimed at instilling the understanding that tailings do not pose a danger, and may be used as media for plant growth. The garden plots are made up of tailings, and with proper care produce sound crops fit for consumption.
A program participant, Yusuf Kiki Mofu said, “This is a vital program, primarily for Papuans, and we are able to apply what we learn in the program, as back home in our villages, there are wide tracts of land available. In fact this work is easy to put into practice; we just never perceived it as a business opportunity. After completing our training here, we hope to apply what we have learned and put our land to good use,” Yusuf said. (Hendrikus)