Over 80 Vanuatu nationals graduated with internationally recognised qualifications in 14 technical and vocational programs from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) in Port Vila today.
The new graduates received certificates in: Applied Fashion, Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Education Support, Fabrication, Diesel Fitting, Fitting and Machining, Hospitality, Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Painting and Decorating, Tourism, Leadership and Management, Training and Assessment and awards in the International Skills Training course.
As Australia's flagship Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program, APTC has trained over 13m000 Pacific Islanders ssince 2007, including more than 1,800 Vanuatu nationals, of which 55% are women.
In her keynote address to graduates, Vanuatu Olympian and VASANOC Sport for Development Officer, Ms Anolyn Lulu, urged graduates to challenge themselves as they return to the workforce by grabbing opportunities to upskill, mentor and share their skills with workmates, friends and family.
A champion for women and persons with disabilities, Ms Lulu acknowledged the 45 women who were awarded during the ceremony.
Amongst these women was an all-female class of 16 Certificate III in Education Support recipients, who will be using their new skills to support school teachers in creating an inclusive education environment for students of diverse backgrounds. Ms Lulu, who coordinates Smash Down Barriers, a community table tennis program for persons with disabilities, thanked them for upskilling to assist ni-Vanuatu students with disabilities and special needs.
The graduation also included a group of 20 ni-Vanuatu students who undertook International Skills Training (IST), an Australian Government initiative to support TVET teachers to address skills needs in the global workforce.
Ms Lulu said she looks forward to APTC's continued efforts to enable ni-Vanuatu among other Pacific women and men to gain Australian skills and qualifications that will provide them with employment opportunities in a range of vocational careers.
APTC is now in its third stage and will continue delivering high quality, internationally recognised training to improve graduates' employment outcomes, support greater investment in skills training, and promote higher quality TVET delivery across the Pacific.
Extending the Australian Government's best wishes, Australian High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Her Excellency Ms Jenny Da Rin, encouraged graduates to stay connected with each other and APTC, and to be positive role models and contributors to Vanuatu's economy.
"Graduates, you are now embarking on a new chapter - one in which your country, the Government of Australia and APTC, share your hopes for a prosperous future for yourselves, your families and communities."
She also expressed her gratitude to the Vanuatu Government for its work in advancing skills development through education and reaffirmed Australia's commitment to helping elevate TVET standards in the Pacific.
"Decent employment means greater opportunities for a better income, which can improve livelihoods and lift people out of poverty. The Australian Government will continue working with APTC to make sure that training meets employer needs for jobs now and in the future, as well as self-employment opportunities," she added.
This was the first APTC graduation for 2019, and was attended by graduates' families and friends, government representatives, as well as industry and TVET partners.