The Fijian economy will be boosted by the introduction of nearly 200 new skilled graduates with Australian-level trade qualifications following their graduation today.
The achievements of 132 men and 65 women were celebrated at the first in-person APTC graduation ceremony in Suva since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
The graduates received qualifications in eight technical and vocational courses ranging from Air-conditioning and Refrigeration, Carpentry, Electrotechnology Electrician, Diesel Fitting, Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community), Wall and Floor Tiling, Counselling, and International Skills Training.
The largest cohort of nearly 70 students completed the International Skills Training program, which gives them the skills to make significant contributions to Fiji’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector as skilled trainers and assessors. This will enable a stronger pipeline of skilled Fijians to match the needs of Fiji’s economy in the short, medium and long term.
In his keynote address, Director of the National Training and Productivity Centre (NTPC) at Fiji National University (FNU), Dr. Isimeli Tagicakiverata, congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to use their skills, knowledge and positive attitude to make a difference in their workplaces and communities.
He also acknowledged APTC’s role in strengthening targeted sectors through partnerships with education providers and industry stakeholders, including the FNU, Navuso Agriculture Training Institute and the Sangam College of Nursing and Health Care Education.
The graduation ceremony also celebrated the achievement of 40 Fijians, including 31 women, who completed the accredited short course for competencies from the Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Maintenance) Diesel Fitting Pathway (MEM30205).
“I commend APTC’s efforts in providing training that addresses the growing need for skilled welders for Fiji’s manufacturing sector and for creating pathways for women to pursue trades in male-dominated fields,” Dr. Tagicakiverata said.
APTC is one of Australia’s major investments in TVET for the Pacific and Timor-Leste.
In his closing remarks, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to Fiji, Paul Wilson, said
skills development was an important component of Australia’s development support to Fiji and the Pacific.
“I’m delighted to have the chance to applaud the graduates for their hard work, including the women graduates for successfully taking up trades that are traditionally dominated by men,” he added.
The APTC program is implemented by TAFE Queensland, one of Australia’s largest and most experienced providers of vocational education and training. TAFE Queensland’s General Manager International Education, Denise O’Brien, acknowledged APTC’s role in delivering skills for improved employment outcomes in Fiji and the region.
The new graduates join more than 17,000 alumni, including over 5600 Fijians trained by APTC.