Australia-Pacific Technical College training staff are meeting at the college’s Namaka campus to update their teaching in a range of important areas.
More than 40 teachers and tutors from the various courses in the Australia-Pacific Technical College’s School of Hospitality and Community Services came together in Namaka, Fiji, for an intensive three days of in-service training.
It’s all part of what Anthony Bailey, Director of the School, calls “keeping ahead and deepening our commitment to provide the best possible tuition for our students.” The workshop is also designed to ensure that “the courses we are delivering are what our industry partners and our students want,” he added.
APTC staff and campus managers attended from the four Pacific countries where the APTC, which is funded by the Australian Government, maintains campuses - Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu. There are also project-management representatives from Australia and 14 representatives of industry partners with whom the APTC collaborates in providing specialised training.
The School of Hospitality and Community Services offers a wide range of courses, all of specific value in training skilled workers for areas identified as economically and socially important in Pacific communities, such as tourism and community wellbeing. This means that the trainers attending represent such varied areas of teaching as hospitality, commercial cookery and patisserie, hairdressing, children’s services, youth work, home and community care, aged care and disability care.
Among the industry representatives taking part are Ms Ufemia Camaitoga and Ms Sangita Jattan of the Fiji National University, specialists in early childhood education, and Ms Sangita Singh of Andrews Preschool, Nadi. The disability services sector is represented by Ms Shopan Mala and Ms Meena Latchmi from Lautoka Special School.
Youth services industry delegates were Maika Raisilisili from the Rewa Provincial Youth Council and, from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Sanjai Kissun and Akuila Sovanivalu.
Matthew Gillespie and Adrian Brett-Chinnery of the Tanoa Hotel Group, Nadi, and Ms Finau Leggett, Training Manager at Radisson Blu Resort, Denarau are among the industry representatives for hospitality and tourism – an especially vital area economically throughout the Pacific.
“It was a pleasure to be able to participate in the APTC Moderation Workshop. The APTC provides tremendous support to our people and industry in Fiji, and the greater Pacific Region. It was very pleasing to be able to play a small part in this process by advising of the current and projected future skill and training needs of the industry. APTC has shown once again that it is an industry partner, listening to our wants and needs, to be able to continue to deliver the skills and training Fijians and other Pacific Islanders need to grow both professionally and personally. This in turn builds greater capacity within our industry and makes us all stronger” said Matthew Gillespie, General Manager of Tanoa International Hotel Nadi.
Ms Leggett commented that “The moderation workshop is an excellent platform to discuss and exchange ideas and best practices to review and modify programmes offered by APTC within the South Pacific… Gone are the days of one skills set, now are the days of multi-skill sets and we look forward to companies like APTC providing these training and qualifications. Having taught TAFE in my previous employment, I have no doubt of the quality, accreditation and practicality it has in our students and I recommend APTC to all industries in Fiji”.
On the first day each industry representative delivered a 10-minute address on the particular requirements of his or her area of activity, as part of the workshop’s purpose of aligning APTC training with industry needs.
“There is a positive benefit in teachers not only getting together and exchanging ideas but talking and listening to the industry partners who are so important to the APTC,” says Anthony Bailey. “At the end of this workshop our trainers will have a wealth of up-to-date information to incorporate into their training programs and to ensure that APTC courses are relevant to all industry sectors in which we work.”