Technical and vocational education in a specific trade enables graduates to master a skill that opens doors towards employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, says Fiji National University (FNU) Programme Coordinator and Assistant Instructor Kite Lagicere.

Lagicere, who is based at FNU’s College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST), believes that once students develop a particular skill set, they can easily take up other trades which overlap with their field of expertise. This way, a person becomes multi-skilled and has higher demand in the employment sector.

“TVET is instrumental in building a person’s career because it deals with skills work,” Lagicere said.

“At FNU, we ensure that TVET in our field is relevant and up-to-date with today’s teaching and learning needs. In the particular field of Automotive Engineering, we have various Certificate level programmes one can take before progressing to the Diploma in Automotive Programme or Diploma in Transport Management after completing their industrial attachments and other Certificate-level requirements.”

“Even after graduating from the Certificate IV level, the student can be competent enough to start their own business.”

“Hence, starting out in TVET shouldn’t be a second option or after-thought. If someone is sure of a trade field they want to work in or even start a business in, they have the opportunity to begin through TVET and upskill themselves in the same or relevant field.”

Lagicere is a testament to the success of TVET learning, having begun her studies at the then Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT) in the Trade Certificate in Motor Vehicle course.

She completed her apprenticeship at Carpenters Motors and was later employed as an auto electrician and air-con technician for five years.

Over the years, Lagicere has upgraded her qualifications and has graduated in an International Diploma in Tertiary Teaching, (FIT), Diploma in Automotive Engineering – 2003 (FIT), Certificate IV in Training & Assessment – 2010 (Australia Pacific Training Coalition), Associate Degree in Engineering Technology – 2015 (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) and a Certificate IV in Leadership & Management (APTC).She is currently enrolled in the Master of Engineering (Maintenance) programme at CEST

.Lagicere also reflected on her role as an educator and her contribution to women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).“There is a lot of emphasis placed nowadays on encouraging more females to enter Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields that were traditionally dominated by males in the workforce.”

“I want to do my part in trying to address this through my teaching. So, I sort of do this through my classes and showing females that they can do the same things men do.”

“I believe this is one of the most important phases because it is at this stage that the girls hone their skills, confidence and experiences.”

Lagicere currently teaches classes that consist of female automotive engineering students and said she was excited to welcome and train more tradespeople in the future.

FNU is a dual-sector university that provides vocational education and training and higher education programmes in Fiji and the Pacific region. Enrolment for 2021 is now underway.

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