Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

151118 Speech Rod Hilton at APTC grad

16th Graduation Ceremony of
The Australia Pacific Technical College

Address by Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Rod Hilton

18 November 2015, Port Moresby

APTC Chief Executive Officer, Denise O’Brien
APTC Acting Country Manager, Terri Brereton
Distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to be here today at the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) for your 16th Graduation Ceremony.

I am honoured not only to speak but also to join with you in celebrating the achievements of the 179 Papua New Gunieans who are the stars for this celebration. Today is indeed a significant and happy ocassion for many including Terri Brereton and the staff of APTC, the graduates, their families and the many industry partners that are represented here today. You all have contributed to making this day possible.

These proud graduands have successfully completed their studies in various trade courses at the APTC Port Moresby Campus and other campuses within the region (including Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tonga).

Among the many reasons to celebrate today is the fact that the gap in labour market in PNG and in the Pacific will soon be filled by 179 more skilled and qualified women and men. The APTC is gainfully contributing to training, employment and productivity in PNG and the Pacific. Including today’s graduands, the APTC has qualified for the trade sector, over 1800 Papua new Guineans in the eight years of its operation here.

It is interesting to note too that each year, since its inception in 2007, the APTC graduates a higher number of women than it did the previous year. Figures from the past four years show that only 17 women graduated in 2012, 46 in 2013, 62 in 2014 and 92 this year which include 39 in May and 56 today.
This seems fairly small, but it is a significant contribution that the APTC is making in terms of graduating women for the job market. The impact of this contribution goes further than giving women job or income earning opportunities.

Research shows that women who successfully complete their education are empowered to make productive contributions to society. They have better chances to lead healthier and happier lives. They have the skills, information and self-confidence that is needed to be better parents, workers and citizens. These are important benefits for society as a whole. A girl’s or a woman’s education is indeed a lifeline to development and we applaud APTC for this contribution.

The APTC delivers the following programs: automotive, carpentry and construction, diesel fitting, fabrication and welding, fitting and machining, electrical and hospitality operations.

In 2014, the college introduced the commercial cookery and hospitality operations (food and beverages) training at the newly built Hospitality Training Facility.

This year the campus began delivery of the Certificate III in Community Services Work.

The APTC has contributed to a significant upgrade and maintenance of equipment and machinery in the shared fitting and machining and fabrication and welding workshops. The vision for this facility is to enable expansion of the APTC/POMTECH programs to include shared delivery across the automotive industry programs including auto mechanics and diesel fitters.

Students who graduate from APTC have qualifications that are recognised both in Australia and in PNG, at Certificate 3 and 4 levels.
Today’s graduates can competitively offer their skills and expertise in the labour market across the Pacific.
The trade, entrepreneurial and innovative skills they have attained will make a real difference for many, including themselves.

I am delighted to announce that graduating today also, is the first cohort of metal fabrication students who studied under a DFAT Pilot program delivered at the PNG National Polytechnic Institute in Lae.

This is yet another milestone achievement for APTC. Through the APTC, Australia is supporting this pilot project at the Polytechnic Institute.

This pilot project is part of a broader initiative by a group of public and private stakeholders looking to support the establishment of a Centre of Excellence hub at the Lae Polytechnic Institute.

APTC’s partnerships with private companies means that the trade and service qualifications it offers are internationally recognised, in demand and its graduates are valued by the private sector.

Supporting technical and vocational education and training is one of Australia’s priorities in PNG.

APTC is a large contributor to our efforts. It provides greater access for Papua New Guineans and other Pacific islanders to attain Australian trade and service qualifications that meet industry demand.

APTC is increasing the productivity of individuals and organisations in targeted industry sectors and helping to upgrade many workers’ existing skills.

I would like to acknowledge the support of some of APTC’s private sector partners. They are; Coral Sea Hotels, Avenell Engineering Systems and Digara Construction.

The APTC aims to provide high quality TVET and other technical training to a standard which delivers highly trained graduates in vocations which are required by industry.

We would like to encourage your support in these initiatives. A joint and collaborative effort is essential to overcoming challenges in the sector.

It is wonderful to see today a growing number of young women enrolling in trade certificates, in fields traditionally perceived as the domain of men.

I encourage you to consider further study throughout your career.

Congratulations and I wish you success for the future.