The role of the private sector in providing access to educational and employment opportunities in PNG : a case study of the Work Readiness Institute, Lihir Island, PNG : a research project presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of International Development, Institute of Development Studies, Massey University, Manawatu, New Zealand
Despite Papua New Guinea being resource rich, the country has struggled to turn these revenues into positive development results with PNG still lagging behind in all development indicators. Mining companies within the country have made effort to contribute positively to development, and are increasingly held to account through critical evaluation and measuring effects by way of social impact assessments.
This paper seeks to look specifically at the role of the Work Ready Institute, situated within the special mining lease of Newcrest Mining Ltd., Lihir Island, New Ireland Province. The WRI has been developed by the mining company as a training and development program that provides trainees with the skills necessary to access employment opportunities available within Newcrest and is specifically aimed at young Lihirians.
The aims of this research project are, firstly, to investigate the obstacles to educational success that exist for students at the Work Ready Institute, an educational training facility administered by Lihir Gold Limited (LGL). In understanding these challenges, the second aim is to explore how the mine, the WRI, and the trainees can work together for better educational outcomes.
The overall context of this research project is to critically examine the education system in PNG by looking at the history of education in PNG and how this history relates to recent curriculum reforms. The research considers the available literature surrounding education in PNG as well as the extractive industries and the way in which the latter can partner with the government to improve educational outcomes in the country. This research considers these through the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility, particularly looking at the motivations of CSR within the mining
industry and its influence on outcomes and sustainability of social performance initiatives.
Broadly speaking, the conclusion of this research project speaks to the need for social performance initiatives to be well considered in partnership with the very people the project is aimed at through effective social assessment and monitoring.
There needs to be a clear objective for the program, and all stakeholders need to understand the objective in order to find success. Most importantly, the outcome of the initiative needs to satisfy business objectives in order to ensure continuity and sustainability during the mine life, as social performance requires long-term
investment in order to deliver effective social change. And herein lies the difficulty: placing priority on business outcomes, like social performance, while also prioritising the needs of the community. True partnerships in sustainable development are when interests of all stakeholders are met.