Australia’s Strongim Bisnis is working with SolTuna to establish a childcare centre at the SolTuna cannery in Noro. This centre will provide the employees of SolTuna with access to subsidised, high-quality and safe childcare for their children aged three-years and under. The centre aims to improve workplace attendance and productivity among employees.
The Australian High Commissioner, Dr Lachlan Strahan, visited the SolTuna cannery in Noro on 12 May to discuss support for the childcare centre. Strongim Bisnis signed a partnership agreement with SolTuna during Dr Strahan’s visit.
Dr Strahan said “Over 60 per cent of Soltuna’s employees are women. We know that juggling a paid job and childcare responsibilities is challenging. We also know that it is women, all over the world, who face this juggling act. Making matters yet more challenging, many of SolTuna’s workers come from other parts of Solomon Islands, meaning they aren’t able to call on wider family networks to assist with childcare. The childcare centre will help parents attend work knowing that their children are looked after.
“The Australian Government, as proud partners of the Solomon Islands Government, supports women’s economic empowerment. We hope that establishing a childcare facility at one of Solomon Islands’ largest employers of women will reduce a significant burden that can limit women’s ability to be employed and earn an income.
“Providing a childcare centre is also economically smart for a company, because it reduces absenteeism and increases productivity. We hope the Soltuna childcare centre will set an example for other large businesses by demonstrating the benefits of providing childcare services for employees”, he said.
SolTuna Human Resources Manager, Bella Simiha said, “The challenges faced by our employees in ensuring their children are cared for translate directly into challenges for business. We’re acting on our employees’ needs and aim to demonstrate that a well-supported workforce not only results in increased job satisfaction for our team, but better outcomes for business productivity and profitability”.
Strongim Bisnis’ assistance will include hiring a mentor and supporting the refurbishment of the childcare facility according to international good practices of occupational health and safety.
Strongim Bisnis works in the cocoa, coconut, tourism, financial services, timber, horticulture and waste management sectors, with a strong focus on women, youth and people with disability.