Eighty-Seven Solomon Islanders were awarded Australian qualifications in a virtual graduation ceremony hosted by the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), on Thursday, 10 March 2022.
The cohort comprised 49 women and 38 men graduating in eight different technical and vocational programs including Hospitality, Fashion and Design, Individual Support, Tourism, Leadership and Management, Training and Assessment, Team Leader Skills Set, and International Skills Training.
In her keynote address, Chief Executive Officer for the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SICCI), Natalina Hong congratulated the graduates and acknowledged the growing number of women and girls graduating in the TVET sector.
“It is inspiring to see 49 women graduating in this cohort. This is an incredible achievement, especially since TVET is often perceived as a career path for men. The growing number of women taking up technical and vocational training will help contribute to the socio-economic development of our families and societies.”
Ms Hong spoke about the role of SICCI and acknowledged the governments of the Solomon Islands and Australia and APTC in supporting quality training for skilled workers to fill jobs in the Solomon Islands, and across the region.
“As a peak representative organisation for the private sector and employers in the Solomon Islands, SICCI will continue to advocate not only so that businesses grow and thrive, but so that young women and men can have equal opportunity to access quality education, relevant skills for employment, decent jobs, thriving entrepreneurship and industry experience in the Solomon Islands,” said Ms Hong.
Mary Maefiti, a graduating student in Certificate II in Hospitality (SIT20316) acknowledged the Australian government through APTC for its continuous investment in their training despite the COVID-19 challenges.
“Gaining an internationally recognised qualification is a huge achievement, it has changed our lives and will certainly transform our future.”
Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, His Excellency Dr Lachlan Strahan congratulated the graduates on their hard work and for reaching this milestone achievement and shared how important it is to provide the right skills for the future.
“It’s important that we empower women of every society. It’s absolutely crucial that we unleash the productive power of one half of the population sometimes excluded from the formal economy. Australia is continually committed to providing opportunities for Solomon Islanders to acquire new skills in both tertiary and Vocational Education and Training,” said Dr Strahan.
The virtual graduation ceremony was aired and live-streamed on Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) radio station and is available for viewing on the APTC Facebook page.
As Australia’s flagship TVET investment in the Pacific, APTC has trained over 17,000 Pacific women and men, including more than 2100 Solomon Islanders, of which over 900 are women, since its commencement in 2007.