Australia’s flagship program, the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC), celebrated the successful achievements of more than 220 Fijian nationals who graduated with internationally recognised Australian qualifications today.
The ceremony at the Novotel Convention Centre in Suva, was special as it also marked APTC’s 10 years of delivering Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Pacific.
APTC was first established in 2007 after it was announced by the Australian Government at the Pacific Islands Forum. Since then, the College has produced over 11,400 Pacific graduates, of which, over 3,400 are Fijians.
In his keynote address, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Hon. Jone Usamate congratulated the graduates on their academic achievements as well as APTC for reaching the 10-year milestone.
“This is indeed a historical achievement for APTC in the development of TVET in Fiji and the region as a whole. The training offered by institutions like APTC is a valuable contribution to the upskilling of vocational and trade workers in the Fijian workforce as well as encouraging employment growth,” Hon. Usamate said.
“The contributions made by APTC are invaluable and will make a lasting impression on the lives of all its graduates for many years to come. I thank the Australian Government for their vision in establishing and supporting APTC for the last decade,” he added.
The graduates received qualifications ranging from Certificate III to Certificate IV and Diploma level in 24 different courses. The ceremony also included a student each from Kiribati and Tonga.
Over 90 women graduated at this ceremony, with five graduating with certificates in non-traditional trades including Fabrication, Fitting and Machining, Painting and Decorating, and Wall and Floor Tiling.
The first cohort of 18 students from the Certificate IV in New Small Business also graduated during the ceremony, while the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment program had the largest group of graduates with 38 students.
In his closing remarks, Australia’s Regional Counsellor Health, Education and Gender, Gordon Burns said: “you are sitting here today at the finish line through sheer hard work, perseverance and sacrifice driven by the determination to make a difference in the world with your newfound skills and knowledge”.
APTC has established strong partnerships with educational institutions and industry stakeholders throughout the region. In Fiji, APTC works closely with The University of the South Pacific, the Fiji National University, TISI Sangam School of Nursing, and the Fiji Higher Education Commission. These partnerships have helped strengthen APTC’s contribution to the development of TVET in Fiji and the region.
A video on APTC’s 10-year journey highlighting its key achievements was screened at the ceremony.
The event also brings to a close a three-month period celebrating throughout the region for APTC’s 10-year anniversary.