The Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Abigail Chang as the new Country Director for Solomon Islands and Kiribati.

Ms Chang will take up her new position in Honiara in December, 2019.

She joins the APTC from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) in Suva, Fiji, where she served as the Regional Technical Specialist.

In addition to having served in notable positions at the Reserve Bank of Fiji and Fiji Forest Industries Limited, Ms Chang also undertook Asian Development Bank’s scoping mission for Financial Education in Nauru in March this year.

In her role as the Country Director, Ms Chang will lead APTC’s engagement through forging coalitions with partner institutions, industry and governments in Solomon Islands and Kiribati to achieve sustainable locally driven reforms in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

Ms Chang believes her extensive work experience and involvement with a multitude of stakeholders in the Pacific will benefit her new position.

“I’m at the stage in my career where the nature of the engagement, the challenge or opportunity to make an impact and the people involved are what motivate me. I see a strong linkage in my current role in financial inclusion and interests in capability strengthening, economic empowerment and development in the Pacific reflected in my new role as Country Director,” Ms Chang said.

In her new role, she aspires to strengthen TVET partnerships with key stakeholders in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati and to be an enabling partner in supporting Pacific-led development in vocational education and labour mobility.

“I firmly believe that TVET is not the option of last recourse for education but should be an educational path that is considered at the onset as equally as formal tertiary education. Therefore, I identify with the new direction of APTC, because it is in strengthening existing national capacity and facilitating a cohesive enabling TVET education environment that we encourage our youth and people to choose vocational education career paths,” she added.

Ms Chang has a Master of Science in International Development, Conflict, Security and Development specialisation from the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; is a graduate of the Boulder Institute of Microfinance in Turin, Italy; has a Post-Graduate Diploma in Economics from Monash University in Australia; and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with double majors in Economics and Banking and Finance from The University of the South Pacific in Fiji.

Welcoming Ms Chang, APTC’s Chief Executive Officer, Soli Middleby, said her vast experience working with educational stakeholders across the Pacific will complement the Coalition’s efforts in delivering high quality, and internationally recognised training to graduates for improved employment outcomes.

“We are delighted to welcome Abigail to our team of experts. We are confident that her skills, knowledge and experience will add value to the already cohesive country office in Solomon Islands as well as increase APTC’s engagement with Kiribati,” Ms Middleby said.

Ms Middleby also acknowledged the contributions of APTC’s Interim Country Director for Solomon Islands and Kiribati, Nicki Baird, as well as Chief Operating Officer, Edward Armstrong, for their support and leadership of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati Country Office in the absence of a Country Director.

APTC is Australia’s flagship program for training excellence, helping Pacific Island citizens gain Australian skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers. More than 15,000 Pacific Island nationals have graduated from APTC since it began operations in 2007.

Source: APTC