More than 190 students of the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) were awarded qualifications in 18 programs at a graduation ceremony in Suva today.
Since its establishment in 2007, over 10,600 Pacific Islanders, of which more than 3,190 are Fijians, have graduated from APTC.
APTC is an innovative development project funded by the Australian Government, delivering Australian skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers for skilled workers across the Pacific region.
While delivering the keynote address, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Honourable Mr Jone Usamate, congratulated the new graduates and urged them to use the skills and knowledge that they have gained from their training to contribute towards their workplaces and in their communities.
“You have received training specifically designed to meet the needs of various industries from a quality organisation. As a graduate of APTC, not only will you benefit from international recognition of your Australian qualification but you will have access to enhanced employment prospects,” he told graduates.
A total of 79 women were awarded qualifications during the graduation. Of these, five graduated with certificates in non-traditional trades including Engineering – Mechanical (specialising in Machining), Painting and Decorating, and Wall and Floor Tiling.
To date, around 1,265 Fijian women have an Australian qualification through APTC.
“I must thank the Australian Government for the generous contribution towards the upskilling of Pacific women and men through the establishment of APTC. Fiji is pleased to be associated with APTC as a regional provider of quality technical and vocational skills training in the Pacific. Indeed, TVET providers like APTC have the power to transform lives,” Hon. Mr Usamate added.
In her closing remarks to the graduates, Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Her Excellency, Margaret Twomey, said, “You, as Fiji’s next generation of leaders, are destined to make a difference in Fiji’s development. I encourage you, as you leave here today, to remain confident in your abilities, to hold steadfast in your vision, and to look beyond the sea of impossible and build bridges of possibilities for your communities.”
The graduating class also included 19 students who undertook the Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology program that was successfully rolled out last year, through a partnership agreement between APTC and the Fiji National University (FNU).
The collaboration is enabling the two institutions to work together to deliver the Applied Fashion Design and Technology and the Painting and Decorating qualifications. This year, the two institutions are also collaborating on the delivery of the Electrotechnology Electrician and Refrigeration and Air-conditioning programs focusing on sustainable energy outcomes.
The largest group to graduate at the ceremony was the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care program, which had a cohort of 24 students.
Most of the graduates come from across Fiji and have studied at APTC campuses in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu. The graduation also included a student each from Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.