The Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mereseini Vuniwaqa officiated at the Australia-Pacific Technical College Suva Graduation which was held at the Japan-Pacific Multipurpose Theatre, USP Laucala Campus in Suva this afternoon.

Altogether, 152  women and men were awarded with the Australian-standard qualifications as they graduated from the different technical and vocational programs from the Institute.

While delivering the keynote address at the ceremony, Mereseini Vuniwaqa, said that APTC makes a valuable contribution in up-skilling Fijians, especially women and those working with people with disabilities in alleviating poverty.

Vuniwaqa acknowledged APTC and the Australian Government for providing training for over 12,000 Pacific graduates, over 3700 of whom were Fijians since it commenced in 2007.

She said that the Fijian Government is working closely with APTC in creating an internationally competitive tertiary education system to  meet Fiji’s future needs and to be competitive with those countries that have already undertaken significant reforms and investments.

“I am very pleased that Australia, through the APTC, has helped Fijians like you to be able to make the most of those opportunities. Opportunities create employment, employment creates productivity and productivity results in growth.” Vuniwaqa said.

She also applauded APTC for the accessibility of education to women, children and people living with disabilities, who also happen to be the key clientele of the Ministry.

“The Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation is very grateful for the Australian Government’s contribution towards shaping women’s development in Fiji through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program”, Vuniwaqa said.

Vuniwaqa also thanked  the Australian Government for providing $300 million to Pacific Island Countries to tackle climate change through the Green Climate Fund.

Vuniwaqa further highlighted that quality and performance of the higher education system in Fiji will be a key determinant of its economic and social progress and higher education will clearly be a major contributor to the development of a skilled workforce.

The 152 graduands were awarded certificates in carpentry, cookery, electrotechnology, fabrication, diesel fitting, disability, fitting and machining, hospitality, leadership and management, light vehicle mechanical technology, painting and decorating, patisserie, plumbing, tourism and youth work.

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