Australia has extended its support for vocational education in Tonga through an agreement between the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) and the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology (TIST). The agreement will improve training and employment pathways for Tongan students.
The partnership was formalised in a virtual signing ceremony on Friday 4 September 2020.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Education and Training (MET), Dr Tangikina Steen, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of TIST, Mr. Nonga Soakai, and TIST staff attended the signing in Nuku’alofa, while APTC Chief Executive Officer, Ms Soli Middleby, and APTC staff joined online from Australia and Samoa.
Under the partnership, both institutions have committed to improved training and employment pathways for students; capability development for trainers; and building and strengthening TVET systems in Tonga.
Ms Middleby thanked the management and staff of TIST for their collaboration and efforts to benefit Tongan students.
“We acknowledge the major contributions that TIST has made in Tonga’s TVET sector, and it is our hope that through this partnership APTC will have the opportunity to add value to those contributions,” Ms Middleby said.
Dr Steen expressed the Ministry of Education and Training’s endorsement of the partnership.
“We were all eager to ensure that that this partnership was established with the context of Tonga, and we can see that it is there,” Dr Steen said.
“It is our hope that we learn from each other in our work that looks at more Tongans having the competency and skills they need.”
APTC is Australia’s flagship program for training excellence and collaboration, helping Pacific Island citizens gain Australian skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers. More than 15,000 Pacific Island nationals, including over 560 Tongan nationals, have graduated from APTC since it began operations in 2007.