Creating Skills for life


The Samoan Innovators

Oct 28, 2013

Engineering Fabrication students Gustav Vaai and Mila Asuao have used their new knowledge and skills to solve two major Occupational Health and Safety issues at Apia’s main hospital.

They have designed a cylinder trolley and stainless steel valve tools, making work easier and safer for staff at Apia’s hospital.

Gustav and Mila are currently studying Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication at the Australia-Pacific Technical College in Samoa. Both students also work part-time at the hospital.

The duo realised the danger of having unsecured cylinders at the hospital so they developed properly secured cylinder racks. These were made by recycling existing steel leftover from recent hospital upgrades.

“The trolley is now capable of safely transporting six large oxygen cylinders via elevators to any location,” revealed David Holak, Metal Fabrication Trainer at APTC. 

“Previously, the maintenance workers would simply carry one at a time which was a major health and safety risk.”

Gustav and Mila created the valves with recycled material from APTC following a ‘leaking cylinder’ incident at the hospital. As a result, hospital maintenance staff now carry their own valves for use in emergencies.

The students have also used recycled steel for fence and gate repairs to prevent access to restricted areas, as well as fixed safety railings on the upper levels of the hospital. Their problem-solving abilities and enthusiasm impressed Olataga Sakaria, the Mechanical Supervisor at the hospital.

David Holak is proud of his students’ achievements.

“Both students entered the course with reasonably high skills,” he said.

“They have a good work ethic and want to learn the skills properly. Since completing three blocks of training, their mindset is now on planning and evaluating before rushing in with the first idea that seems workable. They have learnt that with proper planning, and consulting with co-workers and supervisors, the end result is always better. Australian standards are now at the forefront of their thinking.”

Gustav and Mila have also used innovative methods to build things at the APTC campus.

“We needed some benches made for the outdoor grinding area. Gustav and Mila came up with a design which did not waste any more space because they improvised by covering the two unused cement planter boxes,” David Holak revealed.

These students like many others in Samoa have ample experience in the metal fabrication trade. However, it is unfortunate that the qualification they receive from Samoa is unrecognised elsewhere. By choosing to study the Certificate III in Engineering Fabrication at APTC they will now have an internationally recognised qualifications, clearing the way for many other opportunities.

Gustav and Mila complete their APTC course in December 2013.

APTC is an Australian Government initiative in partnership with the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

APTC is implemented by TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275)

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