Recap: Day 3 of the PAIR Digital Summit 2020

“Supporting the development and aspirations of South Sulawesi’s youth” was held on 1 December 2020.


Day 3 of the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research (PAIR) Digital Summit offered informative insights into trends in youth employment and mobility in South Sulawesi, and how to support youth through policy. Professor Dr. Dwia Aries Tina Pulubuhu, MA, Rector of Hasanuddin University and AIC Board member, opened the day encouraging panelists to use this forum to generate strategic thoughts and exchange ideas on such important issues.

Policy Forum

Moderated by Valerina Daniel, Industry Fellow at the Australia-Indonesia Centre, the policy forum featured a panel of impressive policy thinkers, including:

  • Jana Hertz – Team Lead at Knowledge Sector Initiative,  Member of the PAIR advisory council
  • Andi Darmawan Bintang, MDev Plg, Head of the South Sulawesi Manpower Agency
  • Pratiwi Hamdhana – Founder and Managing Director Tenoon/Driver Engagement Gojek, Member of the PAIR advisory council
  • Binar Asri Lestari – Think Policy Society

Panelists discussed supporting aspirations of youth in South Sulawesi through policy, noting the importance of social and economic background when considering access and opportunities for youth, particularly for young people with disabilities.

The panelists noted that any policies to help the youth of South Sulawesi need to include an understanding of how aspects such as gender and disability affected access and opportunity.

Andi Darmawan commented, “There are cultural factors that become obstacles because they [young people with disabilities] are actually capable, but because people think that they have a disability, where other people have the ability, they are given less opportunities.”

Panelists also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on youth employment. The new government regulation (the omnibus job creation law) aims to address some of the economic impacts of the global pandemic. Meanwhile, all levels of government are offering work programs, skills training and opportunities to support youth to develop their potential.

Panelists highlighted the value of targeted evidence-based research as a basis for policy development, particularly in support of young people with disabilities. Jana added, “from the results of our research and collaboration with policy makers, it is necessary to be a bit aggressive in pursuing several targets.”

Research Forum

The research forum featured PAIR senior fellows Associate Professor Wolfram Dressler from the University of Melbourne (link to profiles) and Dr Wilmar Salim from Bandung Institute of Technology, and was moderated by AIC’s own Helen Brown.

Fellows discussed trends in youth mobility observed in their research so far. South Sulawesi youth are transitioning away from agrarian lifestyles and are increasingly relocating to Makassar but youth unemployment rates remain high. Associate Professor Wolfram commented, “I think there is something that doesn’t match here between what the youth aspire to do by coming to the city, but then find there are no job opportunities in the city.”

Nonetheless, skills attainment is highly geographically specific. There appears to be a peri-urban divide in terms of youth employability, with an added gender dimension. As COVID-19 restrictions ease, the Fellows are aiming to take a bottom-up ethnographic approach to look further into youth aspirations and skills needs in South Sulawesi, particularly with the new railway development and introduction of the omnibus job law.

In closing Day Three, Kirsten Bishop, Minister Counsellor for Governance & Human Development at the Australian Embassy, said, “the time is right to help lay the groundwork for a more prosperous society, and one that has the right settings to develop education, skills and training that will lead to better employment outcomes, increased productivity and inclusive growth for Indonesia”.

For more on this day of the PAIR Summit, head here.

Picture of Estelle Fraser

AIYEP Intern
The Australia-Indonesia Centre