Representatives from the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia opened the international-standard facility.
The facility was refurbished to include a new generator, an electrical upgrade to the workshop as well as new training tools and equipment.
The Australia Pacific Technical College trained 32 students in 2015-2016, including two NPIPNG staff, in an Australian-recognised Certificate III course in Engineering – metal fabrication and welding. The two staff members are now helping the Institute to deliver Papua New Guinea national certificate courses in metal fabrication and welding.
In addition to the workshop refurbishment, the Papua New Guinea-Australia partnership has provided equipment for applied science, mechanical engineering and hospitality departments.
Acting Counsellor for Education from the Australian High Commission, Ms Fuchsia Hepworth, said the governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia are working with public and private sector organisations as the NPIPNG works towards becoming a Centre of Excellence.
“The NPIPNG plays an important role in contributing to Papua New Guinea’s economic future. The refurbished and re-equipped facilities opened today will support the NPIPNG’s ambition of becoming a Centre of Excellence, a home-grown, self-sustaining model for technical education that responds to industry needs,” Ms Hepworth said.
NPIPNG Director, Graham Bidang, echoed the Acting Education Counsellor, saying the NPIPNG’s goal of becoming a Centre of Excellence is to see it produce graduates at an international standard.
“It is my fervent hope that with support from the Centre of Excellence project group, along with industry and business partners, the NPIPNG will one day produce graduates equipped with qualifications and skills recognised internationally in all teaching areas,” Bidang said.
The Deputy Secretary of Operations from the Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST), Steven Matainaho, also announced during the handover that DHERST is in the process of preparing to anchor the Technical and Vocational Education Training Skills Scholarship Project Phase 2 in-country, to which NPIPNG, in its efforts to transform into a Centre of Excellence, will be an ideal recipient of the TVETSSP In-Country Scholarships.
“We believe the NPIPNG’s upgraded metal fabrication and welding facilities, as well as the instructors, are of a high standard and can produce graduates to meet Papua New Guinea industry needs.
“Moving the delivery of scholarships from Queensland to PNG will be cost-effective for the Department and encourage PNG industry to be confident about the capacity of the NPIPNG to produce the skilled workers industry needs,” Matainaho said.
The Secretary for the National Department of Education, Dr Uke Kombra, said the upgraded facilities and equipment at NPIPNG would have a flow on effect for the technical and vocational education and training sector in Papua New Guinea.
“Having a high-quality Polytechnic Institute will attract students to study trades and vocations like welding, carpentry, metal fabrication, cooking, hospitality, youth work and business. Our country needs people with good training in these areas and the NPIPNG will show other TVET institutions how to produce them,” Dr Kombra said.
The governments of Papua New Guinea and Australia are working with businesses and industries to revitalise Papua New Guinea’s technical and vocational education sector and to help ensure training is linked to industry demand.
(NPIPNG Deputy Director Joselito Marcos; NPIPNG Director Graham Bidang; Secretary for the National Department of Education, Dr Uke Kombra; Acting Counsellor (Education) Australian High Commission, Ms Fuchsia Hepworth; Deputy Secretary of Operations from DHERST, Mr Steven Matainaho; NPIPNG Governing Council Chairman, Dr Ora Renagi; NPIPNG Deputy Director Chris Wani; Executive Manager TVET from DHERST, Stella Marie Martin)