“Reach for the stars and aim high.” This was the message from Director Anne-Rose Tjiobang of the Tertiary Education Department at the Ministry of Education and Training to 69 new ni-Vanuatu graduates of the Australia Pacific Training Coalition during the Port Vila graduation ceremony on Wednesday 7 August 2019.
Director Tjiobang said the value of technical skills and vocations to national development remains a key priority.
“The Australia Pacific Training Coalition provides ni-Vanuatu with the opportunities to gain internationally recognised qualifications at technical and vocational levels,” said Director Tjiobang, “Vanuatu appreciates the support of the Government of Australia in training more than 1,900 ni-Vanuatu through APTC, of which 54% are women.”
The graduating cohort comprised 69 Vanuatu nationals who, after undertaking training with APTC in Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu, received certificates in: Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Education Support, Hospitality, Tourism, Leadership and Management, Training and Assessment and awards in the International Skills Training course.
As Australia's flagship technical and vocational education and training (TVET) program in the Pacific, APTC has trained over 14,000 Pacific Islanders since 2007, including more than 1,900 Vanuatu nationals, of which 54% are women.
In her keynote address to graduates, Director Anne-Rose Tjiobang acknowledged the 40 women who were awarded during the ceremony and urged graduates to use the trade skills learnt as they re-enter the workforce in Vanuatu, as well as abroad.
Amongst the graduating cohort was a class of 18 trainers from the Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT) who will be using their new skills to continue delivering high quality training at Vanuatu’s key national institution. Director Tjiobang, who has more than 18 years’ experience in the training sector herself, thanked them for upskilling to assist ni-Vanuatu students as they progress their technical and vocation skills.
Ms Anne-Rose said she looks forward to APTC's continued efforts to enable ni-Vanuatu among other Pacific women and men to gain Australian skills and qualifications that will provide them with employment opportunities in a range of vocational careers.
Now in its third stage, APTC will continue delivering high quality, internationally recognised training to improve graduates' employment outcomes, support greater investment in skills training, and promote higher quality TVET delivery across the Pacific.
Extending the Australian Government's best wishes, First Secretary from the Australian High Commission in Vanuatu, Ms Cathy McWilliam, encouraged graduates to stay connected with each other and APTC, and to be positive role models and contributors to Vanuatu's economy.
"Graduates, you are now embarking on a new chapter - one in which your country, the Government of Australia and APTC share your hopes for a prosperous future for yourselves, your families and communities."
She also acknowledged the Vanuatu Government’s work in advancing skills development and reaffirmed Australia's commitment to helping elevate TVET standards in the Pacific.
"Decent employment means greater opportunities for a better income, which can improve livelihoods for all. The Australian Government will continue working with APTC to make sure that training meets employer needs for jobs now and in the future, as well as self-employment opportunities," she added.
Graduates’ families and friends, government representatives, as well as industry and TVET partners attended this APTC graduation.