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APTC graduate rises to senior plumbing trainer in New Zealand

Apr 24, 2024

Ameet Pillay, a Fijian-born plumber, is making significant strides in New Zealand's Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector, inspiring and training the next generation of plumbers.

Originally from Ba in the western part of Fiji, Ameet’s passion for fixing things began at a young age, fueled by watching his father, a builder.

“I always wanted to work in trade,” Ameet says. “Even as a young boy, I was fascinated by tools and fixing things around the house. Hands-on learning appealed to me far more, and I knew a career in skilled trades was what I truly wanted.”

This passion propelled Ameet to pursue tertiary studies at the Fiji National University (FNU), previously known as the Fiji Institute of Technology.

He then embarked on an apprenticeship with the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure in Lautoka.

There, his talent shone, earning him recognition for excellence in trade studies, including a gold medal from FNU and the Best Apprentice award from the Training Productivity Authority Fiji.

Ameet’s desire to share his knowledge led him to transition to teaching at FNU in 2010.

However, his thirst for learning never waned. Recognising the need to further upskill, he pursued a Certificate III in Plumbing at the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) Samoa campus in 2011.

“APTC’s support was crucial in propelling me forward,” Ameet says.

“Thanks to their dedication and resources, I was able to hone my skills and gain valuable qualifications, especially appreciating the hands-on approach that truly boosted my abilities.”

The experience at APTC wasn’t just about technical expertise. Being a student in Samoa offered an added bonus – the opportunity to interact with students from diverse Pacific Island cultures in Apia.

“This broadened my understanding and enriched my learning journey,” Ameet adds.

To further enhance his leadership skills, Ameet pursued a Certificate IV in Leadership and Management at APTC in Suva, graduating in 2018. This diverse skill set facilitated his move to New Zealand, where he joined the Ara Institute of Canterbury in Christchurch as a trainer.

Excelling in both teaching and leadership, Ameet now serves as a Senior Academic Staff Member at the institute, specialising in plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying.

“The training programs at APTC equipped me with the necessary skills and knowledge to meet Australian and New Zealand standards,” Ameet says, reflecting on his achievements. “This directly led to my current career.”

Ameet’s story is an inspiration for young people. He encourages them to follow their passions and embrace vocational training for career growth.

“With these skills,” he says, “you will be able to work anywhere in the world.

Pursuing TVET opens doors to numerous opportunities for personal and professional development, and I can guarantee it’s a path worth taking.”

APTC is Australia’s major TVET program in the Pacific and Timor-Leste, contributing to a more skilled, inclusive, and productive workforce.

Since 2007, the Australian Government has empowered more than 7600 Fijians with in-demand skills to pursue diverse and rewarding vocational careers.

APTC is an Australian Government initiative in partnership with the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

APTC is implemented by TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275)

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