Forty-nine Tongan nationals were awarded internationally recognised qualifications during the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) graduation ceremony held at the Queen Salote Memorial Hall in Nuku’alofa on Wednesday 6 March 2019.
The new graduates received certificates and awards in six technical and vocational programs; namely Fabrication Trade, Painting and Decorating, Leadership and Management, International Skills Training (IST) and Key Management Skill Set.
As Australia’s flagship technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program, APTC has helped over 450 Tongans gain Australian skills and qualifications in a wide range of vocational careers, since its inception in 2007.
While delivering the keynote address, Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, His Excellency Mr Adrian Morrison, congratulated the graduates on their newfound skills and urged them to share their knowledge with their colleagues.
He was delighted to note that 33 women were among the graduating class, and commended them for choosing to upskill, and in turn empowering more women across Tonga to take up training opportunities.
During the ceremony, 17 Tongans graduated from the innovative Australian IST course. This is the second cohort of IST graduates from Tonga, who will be able to confidently adapt teaching materials and learning techniques to meet local industry and learner needs, and contribute towards the development of a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce.
The graduation also recognised the first three awardees of the Key Management Skill Set, which was specially designed for newly promoted supervisors and team leaders.
The Australian High Commissioner further highlighted APTC’s repositioning as the Australia Pacific Training Coalition, to ensure that APTC will be play an even greater role in supporting the Pacific to step up the skills agenda in support of jobs, growth and sustainable development.
APTC, now in its third stage, 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.
“I commend you for your efforts in choosing to pursue further studies and extend this gratitude to your families, friends and employers who have supported you,” Vice-President of the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Sam Vea, told graduates.
Mr Vea also encouraged them to seek opportunities to use their APTC skills to support the development of their communities and the nation.
“Similarly, I extend my best wishes to the rest of the graduates who will go on to become amazing trainers, fabrication experts, painters and leaders in the workplace,” he added.
The new graduates now join a network of 13,000 Pacific Island women and men that make up the APTC Alumni.