This was the key message delivered by Deputy Prime Minister Davis Steven at the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) graduation ceremony in Port Moresby on Tuesday, August 20th.
156 students graduated in 14 technical and vocational programs, including 31 women. Ten of these women graduated in trades such as construction, fabrication and light vehicle mechanical technology.
Steven congratulated those graduating and reminded them that they are now in a position to put their internationally recognised qualifications into practice in PNG and abroad.
“Graduations like these are an occasion to celebrate as each graduating student has acquired unique skills and knowledge that will contribute to the development of PNG and its people,” he said.
He commended APTC’s efforts in supporting existing partnerships in PNG with industry, government agencies and the wider community.
“Skills development can be a key driver of social and economic progress for our country, and I acknowledge the contribution of the Australian government as a partner for skills development in PNG through APTC,” he added.
The Australian High Commission’s Minister Counsellor, Andrew Egan, highlighted Australia's objective to support training and vocational skills geared to market needs as well as leadership skills and attributes that benefit PNG’s development and stability.
“We all know that decent employment leads to greater opportunities which can improve livelihoods and spur broader economic growth. In this way you are all contributing to the prosperity of your families, communities and the region,” he said.
Egan was pleased to note that the number of women graduates signifies gender inclusivity and women’s empowerment.
“The Australian government recognises that gender equality and women's empowerment are essential to PNG's economic and human development, and we seek to continue to engage with the PNG Government to promote its efforts in this regard,” he said
Among those graduating were 15 men from the Ipili clan in Porgera who have attained Certificate III qualifications in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816).
Other qualifications awarded at the ceremony were Air-conditioning and Refrigeration, Applied Fashion and Design Technology, Construction, Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Diesel Fitting, Fabrication, Fitting and Machining, Hospitality, Light Vehicle Mechanical Technology, Plumbing, Tourism, Wall and Floor Tiling.
As Australia’s flagship technical and vocational education and training program, APTC has helped over 3100 PNG nationals gain Australian skills and qualifications in a wide range of vocational careers.
Now in its third stage, APTC will continue to deliver high quality, internationally recognised training to improve graduates’ employment outcomes, support greater investment in skills training, and promote higher quality TVET delivery in PNG and across the broader Pacific.
(Graduates with guests [standing in front - left to right] Minister Counsellor Governance Andrew Egan – Australia High Commission, APTC CEO Soli Middleby, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General Davis Steven and APTC Country Director, Dr Brad Shaw)