Seventy-four Solomon Islanders Celebrate Graduation from APTC Vocational Programs

In a landmark ceremony held at the Cathedral Canon Desmond Probets Hall in Honiara, seventy-four Solomon Islanders proudly marked their graduation from the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) after successfully completing nine vocational programs. The event, attended by the graduates' families and friends, was a testament to their dedication and hard work.

Of the graduating cohort, 51 were women and 23 were men, attaining Australian-standard qualifications across various fields including construction, hospitality, carpentry, commercial cookery, community services, individual support, tourism, International Skills Training (IST), and leadership and management.

 Seventy-four Solomon Islanders Celebrate Graduation from APTC Vocational Programs[Photo by APTC]

The Australian Government, through the APTC, provided crucial support for the training, recognizing its importance in equipping individuals with skills essential for the workforce and national economic development.

Noteworthy achievements included 18 women who completed Certificate II in Construction, facilitated by APTC and the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP), and 12 students who finished Certificate III in Community Services, sponsored by ChildFund New Zealand and the Honiara City Council in partnership with APTC.

Furthermore, APTC collaborated with the Solomon Islands Association of Vocational Rural Centres (SIAVRTC) to assist 15 trainers from national training providers in completing the IST program, aimed at elevating teaching standards.

Aaron Pitaqae, Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children, and Family Affairs, delivered an inspiring keynote address, commending the graduates for their accomplishments and urging them to leverage their skills for workplace productivity and national prosperity. He emphasized the graduates' role as role models, encouraging them to inspire others, particularly the youth, to pursue further education and training.

Tamra Waletofea, a graduate and owner of a construction business, shared her journey and highlighted the significance of the skills acquired from APTC in her entrepreneurial success. She emphasized the importance of breaking gender stereotypes in the construction industry, emphasizing that gender should be seen as a strength, not a barrier.

H.E. Rod Hilton, the Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, praised the fruitful collaboration between Australia and the Solomon Islands, which has empowered the graduates with diverse skills and expertise to contribute meaningfully to their workplaces and communities. He applauded APTC's commitment to education and empowerment, aligning with the shared vision of both governments to enhance Technical and Vocational Education and Training for Solomon Islanders.

With their graduation, the seventy-four new graduates join the ranks of over 20,000 alumni, including 2,566 Solomon Islanders, who have benefited from APTC training since its inception in 2007.

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