Women graduating in non-traditional trades were the highlight of the day at the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) graduation ceremony in Suva on Friday, 17 May, 2019.
A total of 163 students made up the graduating cohort, receiving qualifications in 17 different technical and vocational programs.
Of the 69 women who graduated at the ceremony, 15 were recipients of the Certificate II in Construction and a recipient each in the Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade and Certificate III in Painting and Decorating.
The 17 qualifications awarded at the ceremony were: Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Applied Fashion, Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Construction, Diesel Fitting, Electro technology, Fabrication, Fitting and Machining, Hospitality, Individual Support, Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Painting and Decorating, Plumbing, Tourism, Wall and Floor Tiling, Training and Assessment.
As Australia’s flagship technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program, APTC has helped over 4000 Fijian nationals gain Australian skills and qualifications in a wide range of vocational careers.
Delivering the keynote address, Interim Director of the Fiji Higher Education Commission, Dr Nikhat Shameem, encouraged graduates to contribute their exceptional skills towards the development of the respective industries and the economy as a whole.
“An Australian qualification or award is indeed a significant achievement. On graduating today, you are in a position to put your internationally recognised qualifications into practice as part of the Fijian workforce, as well as abroad,” she told graduates.
She also made a special mention to the 69 women graduates who placed importance on education.
“This is a significant achievement in advancing gender equality across traditionally male dominated trades in the country. All this was made possible because you value the importance of education and how it can have a positive impact in your career progression.”
Australia’s Acting High Commissioner to Fiji, Anna Dorney, in delivering her remarks, highlighted that Australia remains committed to working with APTC to ensure that training meets employer needs for jobs now and in the future, adding that empowerment of women is essential to meeting Fiji’s economic goals.
“You are Fiji’s next generation of leaders and it is my hope that when you leave here today, you will endeavor to make positive contributions in your communities and your country. Higher education opens the door to a raft of opportunities and I am very pleased that Australia, through APTC, has helped increase the number of skilled Fijians like yourselves to seize those opportunities,” she said.
Since its establishment in 2007, APTC has graduated around 13,000 Pacific Islanders. This includes more than 4000 Fijian nationals, of whom over 1600 are women.