Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) plumbing students in Samoa had the rare opportunity to build on their trade knowledge and skills during a meeting with three plumbing experts from Australia.
Gary Day, Gary Saunders and Will Van Leeuwin, who were on holiday in Samoa, shared their experiences in the Australian plumbing industry with the APTC students.
During their visit, they also spent time with students, demonstrating best practices and observing student use of plumbing materials in the APTC workshops.
Gary Day and Gary Saunders are plumbing teachers from Bendigo TAFE in Victoria with over 25 years of teaching experience and close to 85 years of combined knowledge and skills from working in the plumbing industry.
Will Van Leeuwin is a retired engineer from Merimbula in New South Wales. Will has designed roof, stormwater and sanitary drainage systems for almost 40 years.
The students were intent on hearing some of the unique experiences the experts had faced in the Australian industry. They also shared practical tips of their trade, which would benefit Pacific Island plumbers. Day, Saunders and Van Leeuwin were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the students and went on to answer their many technical questions.
The experts valued the opportunity to hear from students about their own experiences and compared what plumbers are doing in the Pacific to industry practices in Australia. This level of exchange between experienced industry stakeholders in Australia, who have facilitated similar training to what APTC is delivering to its Pacific Island students, is invaluable. Students came to realise the significance of many of the core aspects of their learning such as safety standards, as applied in the industry abroad.
According to APTC plumbing student, Chris Faka’utaki, from Tonga, “it was very interesting as they explained how plumbing standards work in their country. As they worked beside us we got some very good advice. Most of us took notes to remember that advice. I believe there should be more of these visits.”
These sentiments were echoed by APTC staff who felt that the sharing of the visitors’ experiences in the Australian plumbing industry would benefit the students greatly as they had actual real life examples to compare with their own work in the Pacific.
Country Manager for APTC in Samoa, Ms Francis Howes said: “I can only thank the three visitors for volunteering to visit the students and share their current industry knowledge and enthusiasm. All the APTC students gained more understanding, and were inspired to take their careers forward in the future.”