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Global Education: Skilling Pacific Workers
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Global Education: Skilling Pacific Workers
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The Australia-Pacific Technical College's vocational training centers in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuata are helping Pacific Islanders improve their employment opportunities at home and abroad. But the ultimate aim is to make the system self-sufficient by training local instructors to replace the Australian tutors.

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Produced by AusAID.

Learn more about the Australia-Pacific Technological College.

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Segment 1

VOICEOVER
The Australia-Pacific Technical College [APTC], an Australian government initiative, administered by AusAID, providing training opportunities for jobs in high demand in the automotive, manufacturing, construction, electrical, and tourism industries. It's designed to increase the supply of skilled workers and improve employment opportunities for Pacific Islanders nationally, regionally, and internationally. Colleges have been established in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, and here in Papua New Guinea, where more than 300 students are being trained to Australian standards.
MORRIE WINTRINGHAM [Manager, Western Division, APTC]
We've already had a significant number of graduates, and in fact this week we'll be graduating another 80 students to Australian standards.
VOICEOVER
Currently, all the training is being delivered by Australian-sourced staff, but this will evolve with time when local trainers take on the role. It's a very new program, first announced at the 2005 Pacific Island Forum. At the same meeting a year later, Australia pledged AUD$150 million to establish a scheme which is proving highly popular.
MORRIE WINTRINGHAM
It's enormous, we actually ... we can't cope with the potential demand, which in one respect is a good thing. It gives us the ability to choose ... pick and choose.
VOICEOVER
A demand also paving the way for the region's women to move into careers traditionally seen as the domain of men.
JENNIFER DUD [motor vehicle technician]
Like men do, a woman too must do. This is interesting. Like me, this is interesting, so I joined mechanic.
VOICEOVER
Jennifer has completed training as a motor vehicle technician at Koki Technical College, and the APTC provides a prevocational course prior to commencement of her trade.
JENNIFER DUD
Why I choose is because it is good work and it is interesting, very interesting too.
VOICEOVER
The APTC model enhances rather than competes with existing training at local institutions, and partners with other Pacific training and education providers to build on existing strengths within the region. Amongst the partner firms in Port Moresby is the Australian heavy equipment supplier Hastings Deering.
IAN WALLWORK [Training and Development Manager, Hastings Deering]
APTC believed it was a good idea to become involved with private organizations that were already developed in the country, so therefore they can come in and utilize the resources that were already put in place.
VOICEOVER
A company with an established track record in apprentice training, they provide facilities that otherwise would have taken years to develop and cost millions of dollars to build, resources now being directed at skill development.
MORRIE WINTRINGHAM
We get an enormous amount of support from industries that operate in PNG [Papua New Guinea] both large and small.
VOICEOVER
Working closely with the Port Moresby Technical College, the APTC boasts a state-of-the-art, multi-use facility, which meets the training needs of electricians, carpenters, metal fabricators, and others.
MORRIE WINTRINGHAM
It's designed to be totally flexible, so that means we can be running a variety of courses here, either simultaneously or, if there's insufficient space, on a rotational basis. And you will have noticed that a lot of the work is palletized. Where we can, we palletize it and so the students perform the work on the pallet. If they don't finish the work and they move into theory or they go to industry training, the pallet's not destroyed. It's picked up and placed into storage and it'll be out at a later time. So the key to it all is flexibility, which maximizes the facility's use.
VOICEOVER
Before training commences, each student is assessed. Some already have a trade qualification but, to ensure Australian standards are met, knowledge and skills gaps are identified and teaching is individually targeted.
MORRIE WINTRINGHAM
I'm often asked how long the course takes and the answer is it varies. Each student will vary because we'll cater it to that student's ability.
IAN WALLWORK
I've heard so many reports from people that have been through the APTC program and have successfully completed it. Their employers have said they've seen a great improvement in their confidence in the job, their quality controls, just general excitement to go back to work because they have better understanding of the processes they're doing. So it's a win-win, I think.
MORRIE WINTRINGHAM
We've got direct plans to bring on, initially, locally engaged tutors and they'll have the opportunity to be mentored by the Australian trainers. And ultimately the plan would be that we'll have indigenous trainers delivering this program within the next couple of years.
VOICEOVER
Unemployment is a major issue in the Pacific, however the Australia-Pacific Technical Colleges are now providing a pathway to alleviate this problem.
MORRIE WINTRINGHAM
Ultimately, PNG industry should benefit from the graduates that we produce.