Vagadaci villagers in Ovalau never dreamt that higher education would be brought to their doorsteps.
However, they can now look forward to studying at the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) after a team from APTC visited Levuka in July and August 2013. The APTC team conducted information sessions and preliminary tests in Vagadaci and Levuka, and will be providing courses for Certificate III in Home and Community Care/Aged Care, Certificate IV in Youth Work and Certificate IV in Disability. During these visits APTC trainers Genevieve Thyer, Julia Newtown, Karen Phillips and tutor Margaret Newton Bulivorovoro conducted 33 tests in Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) and 13 skills tests in Vagadaci and Levuka.
“I never dreamt that education could be brought to our doorsteps but a big vinaka vakalevu (Fijian meaning ‘thank you’) to APTC for making this happen,” said Vagadaci village chief Isoa Saqalaca.
“The whole community is excited. We have very skilful people here,” he added.
“This trip has highlighted how APTC is flexible in the way that we communicate and deliver training to people in remote and rural areas,” said Senior Trainer Genevieve Thyer.
“Very few people in the villages were aware of APTC courses and did not understand how to apply and what was required to apply for a course.”
Registered nurse Margaret Newton Bulivorovoro was the first person from Vagadaci village to complete Certificate III Home and Community Care/Aged Care at APTC, a course offered for the first time last year. Margaret joined APTC as a tutor and is now undertaking professional development in Certificate IV Training and Assessment with the goal to become the trainer for this course in the Pacific.
“Being able to complete application, LLN and skills testing at one time meant that applicants had completed the initial process to progress their applications to the next stage,” explained Ms Thyer.
“It also meant that they did not have to find the money to come to Suva to undertake these tests,” she added.
The APTC team also visited the health centre and hospital in Ovalau to talk about the courses.
“We also made a visit to PAFCO Tuna Cannery to discuss trade courses and Train the Trainer courses with the HR Manager,” revealed Ms Thyer. An employee of PAFCO has graduated in a trade course with APTC, while another employee is currently pursuing a trade course.
“Our visits are also about providing information on the type of work experience people need to have done when applying for our courses,” said Ms Thyer.
The APTC has already visited rural areas including Korolevu, Ra, Ba, Wainibokasi and Nayavu to run information sessions.