Industry partners at the Consultation in Nadi.
It is important that industry partners are involved in shaping the graduates of The University of the South Pacific (USP).
This was the message by Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP during the Industry Consultation on 18 August 2017 at Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi.
Organised by the Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE), the consultation gave an opportunity to industry leaders and representatives (public and private sectors) who are based in the Western Division to have an open discussion and advise the University on their training needs.
The aim of the consultation was to hear from the companies about the kinds of skill-set that is required in the changing workforce and get to know their current and future skills need.
Industry representatives were encouraged to exchange information on the skills development areas that USP can include in its training programmes.
Professor Chandra said that the objective of the industry consultation was not only important to hear about the programme needs of the industries, but also listen to their specific needs, so that USP graduates cannot just be employees but be people who make the companies successful.
Professor Chandra noted that in the University’s current Strategic Plan, there is a requirement that all of USP’s programmes have advisory committees. But beyond such committees, he highlighted that it is important to have occasions such as these so that the University representatives can hear from them more directly.
He said that this consultation was extremely important because the University needs to ensure that what it is doing in terms of programmes it develops are relevant to the actual needs of organisations and companies, and the society as the whole.
“We also want to hear from them, in relation to how they find our graduates, where things could be fine-tuned and also to develop partnerships with them, because we need our students to have a very good sense of the world in which they work in,” Professor Chandra said.
Similar consultations have been taking place in Suva, but the University felt that more of them should be done in the west.
Some of the feedback from the industry partners included:
USP to address areas in hydroponics, waste management;
Short course training and workshops adding up to some credit points;
Types of sponsorship given to working students to further their studies; and
Increase in Chinese tourism versus University training in Chinese dishes, language and culture.
As part of the consultation, representatives from the Faculty of Arts Law and Education, Faculty of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment and Pacific TAFE provided an overview of the programmes they offer.
The Vice-Chancellor and President reiterated that the University will be intensifying its effort to engage with all the stakeholders and trying to make sure that “where we want to take the University is exactly where the industries want the University to go.”
The consultation also provided a platform to create stronger networks and partnerships.
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