MORE than a hundred fifty (150) local students have successfully completed their training under the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) during a graduation cermeony last Thursday.
This was by far the largest number to have graduated from the institution since the inception of the program.
The graduation ceremony was attended by minister of education Dick Ha’amori, permanent secretary of education Dr Franco Rodie, Mrs Francis Howes – APTC country manager Samoa, Bede O’Brien APTC operations manager Solomon Islands, other top officials and guests, parents and students.
The three hours ceremony was held at Cow Boys Grill auditorium which was packed.
Most of the students completed their courses last year and this year at APTC campuses in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu Papua New Guinea and for the first time at Don Bosco in Solomon Islands.
The atmosphere was a happy one for students who came to share their achievement with family and friends.
Most of the students spent six months away from the Solomon Islands and in the country to undergo their various studies.
In a graduation message to the graduating students Denise O’Brien APTC chief executive officer (CEO) who was unable to make it to the occasion said this is your day.
“You have demonstrated courage, hard work and dedication to your learning.
“As a result you have been awarded an Australia vocational qualification that is recognised nationally and internationally.
“You have made sacrifices to undertake your studies at APTC. We know that for many, you needed to leave work, your family and community inorder to undertake your studies.
“We trust you have not only acquired skills and knowledge to equip you well for employment but you leave this training experience with new professional friendship,” the CEO said.
Speaking at the occasion on behalf of the Solomon Islands government Dr Rodie said through APTC local students have earned new knowledge and skills.
Dr Rodie while congratulating the students also thanked APTC for the initiative which had offered locals the chance to further their studies and upgrade their skills.
The students graduated in certificate and diploma from courses in tourism, engineering – mechanical trades of diesel fitting, fabrication and refrigeration and air-conditioning; painting and decorating, automotive mechanical technology; electro-technology systems; carpentry; children’s services; hospitality; commercial cookery and youth work.
They join more than 600 Solomon Islanders who have already completed courses.
Speaking onbehalf of the graduating students Johnny Tasa thanked APTC for the opportunity and the lecturers for their professional knowledge in allowing most of the students to gain so much knowledge and skills from through the course of the training.
He said the graduation ceremony marked another new journey in the professional career with the qualification they have received.
Mr Tasa also acknowledged the support and understanding of their family members and friends throughout the training period.
The APTC was established in 2007 to increase skilled workers in the Pacific and improve employment opportunities for Pacific Islanders.
Solomon Islands as of last year hosted an APTC campus at Don Bosco, further boosting opportunities for training and skills development for locals.
The new APTC campus here reinforced Australia’s continued investment in training and skills development, which is one of the key areas of support under the Solomon Islands – Australia Partnership for Development.
And for the first time about 45 students graduated in the automotive and construction from the SI APTC campus.
Meanwhile several changes and appointments for the APTC office in the country have been announced during the ceremony as APTC continues to increase its presence here.
By MOFFAT MAMU