Australian High Commission
Papua New Guinea

Address by Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis at the Australia Pacific Technical College 15th Graduation Ceremony

                                 Australia Pacific Technical College 15th Graduation Ceremony

                                      Address by Australian High Commissioner Bruce Davis

                                                                            Gateway Hotel

                                                                    Wednesday 3 May 2017


  • Senior staff and representatives from local Papua New Guinea government departments.
  • Members of the diplomatic corps and industry representatives from across Papua New Guinea.
  • Representatives from national training institutions and distinguished guests
  • Ms Marian Wilkinson, Executive Director Training Delivery, APTC
  • Ms Terri Brereton, Country Manager APTC – Papua New Guinea
  • Graduands, families and employers
  • Staff and alumni of the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC)

Distinguished guests, management and staff of APTC, students, ladies and gentlemen.

I am honoured to speak at the 15th Australia Pacific Technical College graduation today.

The Australian Pacific Technical College – or APTC as it is commonly known – plays an important role in enabling Papua New Guineans to gain qualifications that are recognised in Australia and internationally.

By producing graduates of an international standard, APTC is helping to strengthen Papua New Guinea’s economy and neighbouring economies in the Asia-Pacific region. Skilled workforce is an enabler of economic competitiveness.

Papua New Guinea and Australia have transited to a contemporary, strategic and economic partnership.

A partnership  based on building economic and trade relations, mutually beneficial political cooperation, regional cooperation, institutional interactions and people-to-people connections.

The recent Ministerial Forum held in March this year in Madang agreed to establish a trade, investment and economic working group to foster our economic cooperation.

Economic cooperation is at the heart of the APTC operations. APTC has a training client relationship with 14 businesses or companies in Papua New Guinea. These relationships help ensure APTC produces graduates with the skills the private sector needs.

The Australian Government and Government of Papua New Guinea work closely with APTC to determine how scholarships should be distributed to best impact Papua New Guinea.

APTC has strong relationships with Port Moresby Technical College, National Polytechnic Institute of Papua New Guinea in Lae and the National Youth Development Authority.

It works closely with other APTC colleges across the Pacific, as well as the National University of Samoa and the Vanuatu Institute of Technology.

Through these partnerships, APTC is bringing critical skills, qualifications and labour mobility to the Pacific region.

Our two governments are proud to support APTC in enabling Papua New Guineans to gain qualifications that are recognised in Australia and internationally.

Today, 132 Papua New Guineans will be graduating from 12 different programs including Business, Carpentry, Commercial Cookery, Fitting and Machining, Tourism, and Youth Work.

Technical and vocational training in these areas is essential for Papua New Guinea’s growing economy. After all, the economic competitiveness of a country depends on the skills of its work force.

As graduates of the Australia-Pacific Technical College, you are graduating with skills that the private sector has told us it needs.  Many of you are supported by your employers and will return to them on graduation, ready to put your skills to use.

So to all of you graduating today, you deserve to be proud of what you have achieved and what you will do in the future.

You will leave here today with the skills to enhance your country’s economic progress.

People with skills like yours drive innovation and entrepreneurship.

Papua New Guinea needs people with your abilities to help local companies compete in domestic and international markets.

You will also leave today with skills that are highly valued in the workplace. You will be able to get jobs, earn a salary, and enhance you and your families’ economic well-being.

Ladies and gentlemen, as of today, 2,313 Papua New Guineans have graduated from APTC.

It is particularly pleasing to note that of these 2,000-plus graduates, around 600 have been women, including 27 women graduating today.

Over the years, many of these women have taken on the challenge of getting qualified in traditionally male-dominated areas such as carpentry, metal fabrication and the electrical trades. By participating in such jobs, women are leading the way, bringing economic benefits to their families and contributing to the productivity of this country. 

The Australian and Papua New Guinea Governments strongly endorse gender equity in Papua New Guinea’s education sector because it has proven benefits for individuals, communities and nations. I encourage all of the industries sponsoring students here today, to work with APTC in supporting women to undertake trade, vocational and education studies.

The World Bank estimates that eliminating barriers to women’s full participation in the workforce can increase labour productivity by as much as 25 per cent.

To conclude, graduation ceremonies are significant milestones.

This is a wonderful day for all of you, as you mark the end of one great effort and the beginning of another. For some of you, coming back to school after being in the field has been a challenge. I applaud you for meeting this challenge.

I am delighted to be here to share in your day of achievement.

Individually and together, you can help Papua New Guinea realise its full potential.

Congratulations, I wish you well.