“You all are role models and I encourage you to inspire other women to pursue further training and studies.”
This was the key message delivered by the then Deputy Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Honourable John Maneniaru, at the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) graduation ceremony in Honiara on Wednesday 25 September, 2019.
Seventy-eight students, comprising 39 women and 39 men, graduated with internationally recognised qualifications and awards in 15 technical and vocational programs. The graduates studied at APTC locations in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Out of the 39 women, seven work for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and graduated with Leadership and Management training.
Hon Maneniaru said the Solomon Islands Government strongly believes in providing the best educational opportunities to its people in order to contribute to the country’s social and economic development.
He added that the Solomon Island Government’s long term plan is to strengthen the delivery of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for the improvement of the skills base of the country’s workforce.
“As part of this commitment towards TVET, last year the government announced scholarships for Rural Training Centres to encourage more Solomon Islanders to gain a vocational trade and pursue employment.
“On that note, we are extremely happy with the work that APTC has been doing in providing high quality industry-relevant TVET skills for Solomon Islands men and women over the years,” Hon Maneniaru said.
He commended this year’s graduating cohort in reaching a new landmark with 39 females and 39 males graduating, saying it is a great milestone for gender equality.
Ms Vivienne Sykes, Second Secretary for Education and representing the Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, His Excellency Rodrick Brazier, commended the graduates’ efforts in choosing to pursue further studies with APTC.
Making a special mention of the 39 women graduates, Ms Sykes said education and skills training comprises one of Australia’s key priorities for the Pacific region, including the Solomon Islands.
“The Australian Government recognises gender equality and women's empowerment as essential to the Solomon Islands’ economic and human development, and we seek to continue to engage with the government in its efforts in these important areas,” Ms Sykes said.
She added that Australia’s longstanding relationship with Solomon Islands is underpinned by strong people-to-people links, development and security cooperation.
Qualifications awarded at the ceremony were Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration, Skills for Work and Vocational Pathway, Applied Fashion, Carpentry, Engineering-Fabrication Trade, Hospitality, Commercial Cookery, Educational Support, Individual Support, Leadership and Management, Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Painting and Decorating, Tourism, Plumbing and Wall and Floor Tiling.
As Australia’s flagship TVET program, APTC has trained over 14,000 Pacific women and men, including more than 1,900 Solomon Islanders since its commencement in 2007.
APTC will continue supporting Pacific countries like Solomon Islands in their efforts to step up the skills agenda for sustainable jobs, growth and development that leaves no one behind.