Thirteen Tongan nationals received their internationally recognised qualifications at the Australia Pacific Training Coalition’s (APTC) graduation ceremony, held at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel in Nuku’alofa on Wednesday 30 October 2019.
The celebrations brought together representatives of government ministries, industry representatives, TVET stakeholders, and friends and family of the graduating cohort.
In delivering the keynote address, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education and Training, Mr Ponepate Taunisila, extended his best wishes and hopes for the newest cohort of APTC alumni.
“The Tongan Government joins APTC and the Australian Government in the great hopes that your internationally recognised qualifications will enable greater employment prospects for you here at home and abroad,” Mr Taunisila said.
He added that with decent employment linked to a better income, improved livelihoods and lifting people out of poverty, each of the graduates are contributing to the prosperity of their families and communities in their own way.
The graduating lot of five women and eight men bring the total of Tongan national graduates of APTC to 560. Graduates received their qualifications in Carpentry, Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, and Leadership and Management.
All 11 Leadership and Management graduates are members of the Tongan Police Force. Among them was Palepina Maniana Poi Tonga, whose graduation signified a milestone when she received her qualification, making her the 15,000th Pacific Island national to have graduated from APTC.
Palepina, who lives and works in Ha’ateiho as an Acting Manager for the Tonga Police Intelligence Unit, explained her motive for signing up for the Certificate IV in Leadership and Management (BSB42015) with APTC.
“I wanted to gain more knowledge and to actually turn such knowledge into action within my job to succeed in whatever goal I set,” she said.
Palepina shares that she will keep the lessons she has learned from APTC for life and believes more people should consider upskilling to improve their livelihood and career prospects.
“The skills I have acquired from this course will greatly impact my future. More people should consider APTC as an option, because APTC can help prepare them for a great career and opportunities for the future,” she added.
In his closing address to graduates, Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, His Excellency Adrian Morrison, praised the graduates for investing in their future and for their dedication in completing their training.
“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. This qualification is indeed a significant achievement. You are now ready to put your internationally recognised qualifications into practice, for the benefit of you and your families, Tonga and the region as a whole,” Mr Morrison said.
APTC will continue to support Pacific countries like Tonga in their efforts to step up the skills agenda for sustainable jobs, growth and development that leaves no one behind.