Australia has supported 98 new Fijian graduates from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) to gain work-ready skills and Australian qualifications. This will support them to make significant contributions to the Fijian economy and boost productivity across various industries.
The achievements of the graduates, which included 44 women, were celebrated at a graduation ceremony in Suva on Monday, 11 September 2023.
The students completed internationally recognised qualifications in eight technical and vocational programs: Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Hospitality, Individual Support (Aged Care), Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Wall and Floor Tiling, Tourism, and Leadership and Management.
In her keynote address, the Director of the USP Pacific TAFE, Susan Sela, congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to use their skills to help contribute to their workplaces and communities.
Ms Sela thanked the Australian Government for supporting education and skills development in Fiji and the Pacific through the APTC.
She said the longstanding USP – APTC partnership was significant for Pacific TAFE as it played a vital role in delivering quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programs and achieving better employment outcomes for Fijians and Pacific Islanders.
“Over the years we have collaborated in the trade areas of Hospitality and Tourism, International Skills Training and through the Individual Support Aged Care Program. We have also expanded collaborative efforts in other areas like capability development for Pacific TAFE and APTC staff, and continued support in enhancing Pacific TAFE TVET qualifications,” Ms Sela elaborated.
Among the awardees were 16 women and four men who were recognised for successfully completing the Certificate II in Engineering Pathways course aimed at enhancing their employment prospects in engineering or related work environment.
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, Ewen McDonald, congratulated the graduates on their significant achievements. “Australia recognises the importance of skills development for the Fijian economy and for our region,” he said.
“Your participation will inspire others to take up skills training and opportunities.”
Milise Jikowale, a graduate who completed her Commercial Cookery course in Samoa, said upskilling with APTC had opened new doors of opportunity for her.
“I worked at a hotel in Fiji for six years, and the six-month course at APTC made a vast difference for me. It boosted my confidence as I gained valuable skills and knowledge, including food standards, food safety, costing, menu creation, and much more,” Ms Jikowale said.
The new graduates, who studied at APTC campuses in Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu, join over 19,000 Pacific Islanders, including 7,600 Fijians, trained by APTC since 2007.