Fiji National University’s National Training & Productivity Centre (NTPC) today signed contracts for seven apprentices with Serendib Investment Pte Limited.
The apprentices now will receive systematic on-job practical learning and off-job study in the printery industry for the duration of their four-year programme.
Serendib Investment Pte Limited is providing printery services at the former Government Printery in Vatuwaqa under the Fijian Holdings Limited. Director NTPC Dr Isimeli Tagicakiverata said the partnership will provide benefits to both the apprentice as well as a boost to Serendib’s operations.
“You are training people who are going to be there with you for many years and who will help the organisation to grow and develop,” he said. The National Apprenticeship Scheme is regulated and administered by NTPC through the support from the Industries to address the skills required and to produce a competent and certified workforce for the organisations. Currently, there are 22 trade and seven technical level qualifications offered under the scheme.
Dr Tagicakiverata said in the 1960s then Fiji Government saw at the time saw there was a shortage of competence and quality skills within the various industries in Fiji.
“Even though we had training institutions in Fiji, the difference is that compared with the traditional graduates, apprentices are guided through their training they will learn on the job and grow while developing a rapport with the supervisors and colleagues. By the time they finish the apprenticeship scheme, their competence and readiness to perform are already there.”
Dr Tagicakiverata also said this competence and readiness to perform becomes more necessary in the face of new technologies, where there is a lot of computerisation and automation of systems that will make current workplace redundant in a few years.
He said skilled apprentices are able to be trained in both the old methods and new technologies under expert supervision that bring about a mutual benefit to them and their employers. Serendib Investment Limited’s Head of Operations, Pradeep Mendis said the organisation is currently implementing new technologies which include new machinery to strengthen its production and efficiency.
“Our organisation was scoping for new talent and during this exercise, we identified NTPC’s National Apprentice Scheme. We saw this as a great opportunity for us to utilise apprentices to further the skills set of our company,” he said.
Mendis said that he would encourage every organisation in Fiji who can take on apprentices to do so. It has immense benefits and is a great scheme. “We have to give a hand and opportunities to young people as properly trained staff as always an asset to the organisation,” he added.