Students in the Australia-Pacific Technical College’s (APTC) Youth Work program simulated a workplace youth support service as part of their involvement in a provincial youth meeting in Rewa province, Fiji.
Youth work students from the APTC were keen participants when young people from 14 Fijian provinces came together for the annual meeting of the Provincial Youth Councils of Rewa province late last year. Rewa province, on the east of Viti Levu, Fiji’s principal island, includes part of the capital, Suva.
It was not just a fun weekend, it had a serious purpose too. The APTC students, who took the Certificate IV course in Youth Work at the college’s Suva campus, used the occasion to carry out a course assignment - the planning and implementation of their own youth camp. This project was a major element in their end-of-course assessment.
The students showed another side to their skills in a group-based cultural activity on the Friday when they performed two traditional dances for the entertainment of all present. Entertainment and hospitality continued into the evening when the APTC students were invited to the village of Nadoi for dinner, where they enjoyed not just the food but a traditional rural Fijian evening, full of song, dance and laughter.
Saturday brought more serious activity, directly related to the APTC students’ Youth Work studies. Under the supervision of Gareth McGrath, their specialist APTC trainer, the students set up a simulated workplace in which it was their job to show how they could provide effective support for working youth. To do this the students devised a “youth agency” with the function of giving on-the-job assistance, appropriate advocacy and relevant referrals. More than 40 of the young people attending the annual meeting visited the agency during the day to “receive” help and guidance.
The coordinator of the Provincial Youth Councils of Rewa, Maika Raisilisili, said the meeting had been “a great chance for young people in Rewa to engage with the APTC” and to be exposed to the opportunities available to them through the college. Indeed, the invitation to the APTC students to take part in the meeting is yet another indication of the degree of cooperation between the APTC and the local community. The APTC, funded by the Australian Government, is committed to this cooperation in all the Pacific host countries in which it has teaching centres.