Forty-five Tongan women and men proudly graduated with qualifications in nine technical and vocational programs, during the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) graduation ceremony in Nuku’alofa on 28 September.
The new students graduated in a range of trades including air-conditioning and refrigeration, carpentry, fabrication trade, mechanical trade, individual support, light vehicle mechanical technology, plumbing, training and assessment and the International Training and Assessment Course (ITAC).
They now join over 450 Tongan nationals, of whom more than 230 are women, who have graduated from APTC - Australia’s major Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) investment in the Pacific.
While delivering the keynote address, the Minister for Education and Training, Honourable Penisimani 'Epenisa Fifita congratulated the graduates on attaining an Australian qualification.
He urged them to contribute their newfound skills and knowledge to their workplaces and communities.
Hon. Fifita commended APTC’s continued efforts in working with organisations such as Tonga Skills for Economic Growth to deliver the International Training and Assessment Course (ITAC).
ITAC is a Training of Trainers program designed by the Australian Government to meet global demand for skilled trainers. A group of 19 trainers across Tonga graduated with ITAC qualification at the ceremony.
Hon. Fifita congratulated APTC on entering its third phase, and said the Ministry of Education and Training looks forward to working more closely with APTC.
In the new phase, APTC will continue delivering high quality, internationally recognised training that ensures graduates have improved employment outcomes while expanding its focus to supporting greater investment in skills training and higher quality TVET delivery across the Pacific.
The Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, His Excellency, Andrew Ford acknowledged the Tongan Government for their continued support of APTC and development cooperation with Australia.
He congratulated the graduands and specified that the skills and knowledge they have attained through their training at APTC is not only recognised locally but in Australia and internationally, enabling them to seek opportunities overseas.
The High Commissioner also congratulated and welcomed the new APTC Country Director for Samoa and Tonga, Ms Cheri Robinson Moors, on her appointment and wished her well in her new role.
The graduation featured 12 officers from various statutory bodies, educational institutions and government ministries, who graduated with a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
APTC delivers training to citizens of 14 Pacific island countries from its campuses in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.