Ascension : MOU Update: Saints overseas hold the key to improving St Helena’s workforce.
Submitted by The Islander (Public Relations Information Office) 05.05.2011 (Article Archived on 19.05.2011)
While there are around 4000 Saints living on Saint Helena, there are around 630 Saints on Ascension,
around 550 on the Falklands, and anywhere up to 10,000* Saints and their families living in the UK. There are more Saints living overseas than on St Helena!
From Friday 6th May there will be an online survey aimed at Saints living overseas (The Diaspora). The link to the survey is www.surveymonkey.com/s/SaintsOverseasSurvey. The purpose of this survey is to understand why Saints leave the island, what factors are important in their decision to return, and what skills those Saints living overseas possess. The survey is part of a larger research programme which will also include a local labour force survey. Specifically it will support the development of a strategy ‘to ensure a sustainable and appropriately skilled labour market, including circular migration and adult vocational training’, as stated in the MOU. Area 5 of the MOU reforms is responsible for reaching this target. Lilla Oliver, Director of Education and Employment, said, “It is vitally important that as many overseas Saints complete the survey as possible , regardless of whether they intend to return to the island or not, and regardless of where offshore they are based. This will ensure that the results represent the views of the Saint Helena Diaspora so that the best strategy possible can be developed that will help to prepare the St Helena labour market for air access and the economic growth that is expected to come with this”.
This survey will build on a similar survey conducted at the beginning of 2009. Around 120 people responded. The new survey will validate, update and further explore the issues raised in the previous survey. Some general indictors from the previous survey show that:
· Overseas Saints are well qualified, with around nine out of ten respondents qualified to ‘O’ level/GSCE/NVQ level standard.
· An important factor in Saints leaving the island is the pursuit of a higher income abroad (nearly seven out of every ten respondents indicated this was one of the main reasons they left).
· Over half of respondents indicated they would certainly or probably return to live on the island permanently one day. In contrast only one out of every ten respondents indicated they were unlikely to return permanently to the island.
· A large proportion of overseas Saints own property abroad (nearly half of all respondents out of every ten respondents) and more than half of these leave the property vacant (not for sale or for rent).
· The most common reason for wanting to return to the island is to be with close family and friends – a result that is not surprising when the survey indicated that most overseas saints have close family on the island (nearly seven out of every ten respondents).
The link will also be posted on SHG’s website www.sainthelena.gov.sh. If you have questions on the survey, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strategic Planning and Policy Unit
The Castle, St Helena.
27th April, 2011.*estimate used by DFID.