The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) and Samoa’s Disability Advocacy Organisation, Nuanua O Le Alofa (NOLA) have renewed their partnership to promote inclusive education and employment opportunities for all Samoans, including persons with disabilities.
The partnership contributes to the Government of Samoa’s disability-inclusive development agenda in the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities 2021-2031.
Samoa’s Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, Chief Executive Officer, Dr Mema Motusaga, said the partnership contributes to the Ministry’s goal of empowering communities to lead inclusive development for a better quality of life.
As part of their partnership renewal, APTC and NOLA also launched a case study report on ‘Inclusive Vocational Education in Samoa.’ The report captures lessons and opportunities from the partnership on planning and delivering vocational skills training for persons with disabilities in the Samoan context.
NOLA General Manager, Mata’afa Faatino Utumapu said, “The report addresses the struggles of persons with diverse disabilities who left school due to multiple barriers, such as lack of access to assistive devices and support, geographic location, stigma and discrimination.”
The NOLA-APTC partnership supports the shared objectives of Samoa and Australia for a disability inclusive society.
Australian Deputy High Commissioner to Samoa, Barry Patterson commended the Samoan Government and the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development for supporting the NOLA-APTC partnership to strengthen the disability sector and promote equal access to livelihood opportunities.
APTC Executive Director, Janelle Chapman said that working with NOLA, an organisation that has been the voice for disability inclusion in Samoa for over two decades will build APTC’s work in supporting equal TVET opportunities and enabling environments for persons with disabilities to reach their potential.
NOLA and APTC have had a history of engagement over several years, involving program development and delivery. Both organisations formalised their partnership in 2020.
APTC has collaborated with NOLA to deliver the Certificate II in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways (FSK20119) and a foundational Language, Literacy and Numeracy course to help persons with disabilities gain essential skills for employment.
In 2021, APTC established a vocational administrative intern role to provide work experience for NOLA members. Similar internship opportunities for persons with disabilities is expected to be rolled out across different APTC locations.
The partnership renewal was signed on 28 June 2022.