News Item

Unlocking Tongan youth potential

Success Stories 7 Sep 2018

Lusia Latu-Jones (pictured third from the right) is a woman one would describe as ‘having it all’, developing a strong sense of business acumen from a young age, she went on to establish several businesses and consulting companies, one of which is New Zealand-based, LL Consulting Ltd.

However, despite her accomplishments Lusia says that it wasn’t leading her to pursue her actual dreams.

“I have always been on the other side of the fence, just making the most of everything, almost taking everything for granted.”

“The truth is, I did have a steady paying job, but it did not tick my boxes. I became unemployed and started to work on my dream – an idea that I could not get out of my head and could not leave alone.”

Lusia’s dream was to establish Tonga Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship (TYEE), a not-for-profit youth support service organisation in Tonga that would train Tongan youth to be work-force ready and offering entrepreneurship mentoring support.

“The concept of TYEE started to consume my time and the whole idea was snowballing and gaining momentum.”

“The idea to establish TYEE arose from the high rate of youth unemployment in Tonga and the increasing number of school-leavers each year who were unable to secure a job. Our youth comprise a large portion of the nation’s population. However, the simple fact is there are not enough jobs in Tonga to cater for our growing population and not everyone who completes their education will get a job.”

In 2014, TYEE was officially established and taking on the role of Founder and President, Lusia says the organisation has dramatically changed her outlook on life.

“No other organisation in Tonga has stepped up to assist our youth and bridge the gap like TYEE.”

“TYEE has shaped my life in a big way to look at life from a different perspective. Not only has it taught me some valuable lessons but also reminded me to never forget where I came from, the people who have helped me and have helped to get TYEE to where it’s at today.”

“Now that I am here, I am being encouraged and empowered to keep building on that same foundation, to recognise the true value and returns in ‘giving back, and never take anything for granted”.

Having faced uncertainty herself in one stage of her life, Lusia encourages Tongan and other Pacific youth to never give up on their dreams, whether it’s starting their own businesses, stepping up to more leadership roles or even just finding employment

“For Tonga, my message is for them to come to TYEE, it is a safe space that will support their talents.”

“For the rest of the youth throughout the Pacific region, have courage. Have dreams that will frighten you but will enable you to be brave and determined. Be proud of where you are, who you are and where you come from. And remember, dreams don’t work unless you do!”

About TYEE

TYEE’s role in the youth workforce serves as a unique, holistic and innovative platform aims to:

  • i)provide opportunities and support for youth school leavers/unemployed youth,
  • ii)to advocate for policies to support youth employment
  • iii)raise awareness about youth employment challenges in Tonga
  • iv)TYEE support starts from the “free registration” of the youth to participate in our programme, preparing youth to be work & business ready, placements of the youth into jobs, and the post placements youth and business support.

All of the above are at no cost to the youth. TYEE Recruitment Services is a core service of TYEE’s Youth Employment Service programme, set up to facilitate and better support the needs of both our participating youths and our business clients/employers.