A total of 123 Fijian sugarcane industry workers graduated with qualifications in the areas of business and trades from the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) in Nadi today.
This is the second cohort of graduates who have completed their studies in internationally recognised Australian courses under the European Union (EU) funded Training Support to the Fiji Sugarcane Industry project implemented by the APTC.
The project focuses on providing a training program that improves the livelihoods of the sugarcane dependent populations by promoting income generation through sugarcane farming or alternative livelihoods.
Majority of the graduates are employed in various leadership, supervisory and management roles in the three Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) mills across the sugar belt regions of Viti Levu and from support agencies like the Sugar Industry Tribunal (SIT) and Sugar Research Institute of Fiji (SRIF).
In his opening remarks, the European Union Deputy Head of Delegation, Corrado Pampaloni said: "The EU recognizes that the Sugar Industry is very important to Fiji and today the EU is proud to celebrate with the 123 graduates. We believe that their accomplishment is a wonderful achievement for the sugar cane industry and for Fiji, especially in terms of addressing sector-specific capacity needs and improving the livelihoods of the sugar cane dependent populations.”
In 2014, the EU made an agreement of delegated cooperation with the Australian Government to provide the Training Support to the Fiji Sugarcane Industry project, complementing the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol (AMSP 2013) programme.
Speaking at the graduation, Director for Sugar Industry, Mr Viliame Gucake in congratulating the graduates said “now that you have graduated, all that is left is for each one of you to apply the knowledge gained. Your employers will be expecting a change for the better in the way you do things, in your performance and in your attitude.”
“More is expected of you. You will be leaders, you will be role models, you will be pace setters, and you will be mentors for your direct report. This is your opportunity to show them and others of what you have learned and what you are made of. Because when you do, you will have made a good account not only of yourself but also of APTC and the sponsors of this training programme,” he added.
From the total number, 43 students graduated with Certificate III level qualifications in trade areas that included Electro-technology Electrician, Diesel Fitting and Fitting Machining. The remaining 80 students graduated in various business courses in Certificate IV in Frontline Management, Certificate IV in Project Management and Certificate IV in Leadership and Management.
Australian High Commission representative, Tina Seniloli, congratulated the graduates on their achievements. "I am delighted that Australia’s partnership with the EU is helping Fijians in the sugar belt areas so directly.”
The Australian Government engaged APTC to deliver training to the Fiji Sugarcane Industry project, when the Delegated Cooperation with the EU was signed in 2013.
Through the project, APTC has been engaging with the sugarcane industry stakeholders to deliver training programs to address skills gaps across the sugar supply chain.
A further 36 students are expected to graduate under the project in the next graduation ceremony in Labasa on 1 December.
The graduation ceremony was attended by guests which included representatives from the Ministry for Sugar Industry, the Australian High Commission, Delegation of the EU for the Pacific, EU Programme Coordination Unit, APTC staff and alumni, employers and industry stakeholders.