115 Solomon Islands students graduated from the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) on Wednesday at a special ceremony in Honiara - the largest APTC graduation ceremony held in Solomon Islands.
The graduation ceremony was attended by Australian High Commissioner to Solomon Islands, Matt Anderson, APTC Chief Executive Officer Denise O'Brien and Permanent Secretary of Education, Dr Fred Isom Rohorua.
Australian High Commissioner, Matt Anderson said it was a great honour to attend the graduation ceremony.
“Graduation Day is always a special occasion and I congratulate all 115 students – who come from all Provinces across the Solomon Islands - who celebrated this achievement,” he said.
“I am pleased the students were able to share this achievement with so many family and friends. Their graduation is an achievement for them too –students could not have graduated without sacrifices made by them too.”
“To take advantage of the AusAID-funded training at APTC campuses in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu or Papua New Guinea - and the opportunity it now provides - students had to spend six months away from home and their beloved Solomon Islands.
Mr Anderson said the APTC receives a very high number of applications from Solomon Islanders every year for APTC courses and there is much competition for places.
“The first achievement of the graduating students was to be selected. Their second was to graduate. Congratulations to you all.”
Solomon Islanders graduated from courses in some 16 fields ranging from hospitality and tourism, cooking and hairdressing, to disability services, construction, plumbing, automotive, refrigeration and air conditioning.
The new graduates join more than 500 Solomon Islanders who have already completed courses.
“Through the APTC and the Australian qualifications the students earned, they now have the skills, training and confidence to take advantage of job opportunities, either in Solomon Islands or in the region. I urge them to seize this opportunity and make full use of the skills gained through the APTC.”
Mr Anderson said that he looked forward to congratulating more students graduating with APTC qualifications through Honiara’s Don Bosco Technical Institute.
“Through the APTC partnership with Don Bosco, up to 300 additional students will gain internationally recognised qualifications in automotive repair and construction over the next three years. The first group of students began their courses last month,” Mr Anderson said.
This followed the SBD$14 million (A$1.9 million) partnership launched between the APTC and Don Bosco in May.
“Solomon Islanders will continue to have training opportunities at APTC campuses in the region, but we hope the Don Bosco partnership will provide even greater opportunities for local Solomon Islanders with the chance to learn new skills to secure a job.”
Mr Anderson said he has seen first-hand the very real benefits of the training and newfound skills and the difference it is making to the lives and livelihood of thousands of Pacific Islanders.
“It is also a very practical demonstration of 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.”
Source: Press Release, Australian High Commission, Solomon Islands