How attractive would these “Misfits who built a Nation” be to prospective employers today?
What would a modern, company, recruiter have made of the scruffy bunch of young men in the photo above?
It was taken between classes in Port Moresby, capital of Papua New Guinea, in 1971 after they had been engaged in Australia to train as kiaps.
There would not have been a straightforward CV among them. The age range was 19 to 41, eleven out of the intake of 39 were married, seven were born in the UK, one in Canada and two were Vietnam veterans. Perhaps half had secured a tertiary qualification
Intakes took place at regular six month intervals and recruits had to be male because their work was often remote and could be dangerous,
The picture surfaced in January 2018 under the headline “Misfits who built a Nation” in an article written for PNG Attitude – a website dedicated to discussion of Papua New Guinea’s progress since it became independent in 1975.
Its describes them as “an odd mixture” whose primary capacity was expected to be an ability to “experiment, improvise and innovate” within a testing working environment in which 250 similarly trained staffers, often working alone, oversaw all theatres of rural administration and welfare covering three million, often isolated, village people.
They were also tagged “strange, effective and rare”. Readers of The Northumbrian Kiap will be able to judge for themselves whether that was, or was not, a correct description.