Senator for the Australian State of Victoria, Bridget McKenzie paid her first visit to the Australia-Pacific Technical College campus in Apia, Samoa on 15 December 2014.
APTC is a development initiative funded by the Australian Government to deliver training in order to increase the supply of skilled workers in targeted sectors in the Pacific region. APTC has campuses in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
Senator McKenzie was given a tour of the classrooms, computer lab, student facilities as well as the plumbing and fabrication/welding workshops. She met with the training teams and discussed the nature of the training, student enrolment countries and the number of female students who were studying in non-traditional trades.
According to Francis Howes, Country Manager for the APTC Samoa campus, the visit was beneficial as the Senator was able to get a greater understanding about APTC and its delivery of Australian standard qualifications which is helping strengthen and build the capacity of tradespeople in the Pacific.
The Senator stated during her visit that she would be reporting back to the Parliamentary Education Committee about the visit and what was being achieved by APTC. Senator McKenzie is a member of the Educational Parliamentary Committee and works closely with the Australian Ministerfor Education, Honourable Christopher Pyne.
Francis Howes added that campus staff were also very happy to spend time with the Senator who was extremely engaged and interested in what they were doing. In particular, the Senator was delighted to meet Tuasivi Kaleopa and Daniella Ah Leong Leota who are the first Samoan national trainers to become accredited through APTC’s nationalisation program. Both Kaleopa and Leong, who started off as APTC tutors, have been delivering training for the last 6 months in their respective areas of Fabrication/Welding and Cookery.