Orientation Day at the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) in Port Moresby was an exciting day for 136 students from PNG and the Pacific. It was all about meeting new students, greeting new teachers, making new friends and taking the first steps towards their future careers.
Coming together from a variety of backgrounds, including cookery, catering operations, hospitality, automotive trades, electro-technology, carpentry, metal fabrication or fitting and machining, the students commenced their training by attending a two-day Orientation program.
Students got to inspect their new classrooms and work-shops – all fitted with the latest industrial equipment and facilities – as well as collect their safety helmets, boots and high-vision vests. It was all fun and laughter as students enjoyed the early days of getting acquainted with APTC, their courses and the people they would be rubbing shoulders with over coming months.
Part of the Orientation event included a presentation from APTC Country Manager, Ms Terri Brereton. Ms Brereton welcomed the students and explained how they would spend the next two days learning about the college’s code of conduct, HIV/AIDS prevention, good study habits, dealing with cultural differences, occupational health and safety and campus support services.
Students were also welcomed by Mr Johnny Lo Yep, a Program Manager with the Education Program at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, a major partner and supporter of APTC.
In his short speech to the students Mr Yep said he was impressed that of the 136 new students eight were from neighbouring Pacific island nations, including Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Tonga.
“I am proud to welcome you to Papua New Guinea. As Pacific islanders we have a lot in common. Culturally, linguistically, historically – we share a lot of similarities. Our countries are also destined to have an increasingly shared future, particularly in terms of trade and economic development.”
"I hope you enjoy your studies and return home with the skills you and your country need,” Mr Yep said.
Mr Yep described the work of APTC as very important as it “helps strengthen both government-to-government and people-to-people relations . . . and build regional partnerships.”
Mr Yep said he was also impressed that this semester’s intake included 28 women, saying the Australian aid program is committed to supporting the education and welfare of women.
“When a country ignores the education needs of half of its population, it denies itself from accessing 50 percent of its full human resource potential."