Stakeholder representatives from fisheries government ministries, educational institutions and development partners relevant to the fisheries sector.
Suva, July 11th 2023: Micro-qualifications are key to bridging skills gap in the workforce.
After a rigorous development, vetting, and review process supported by the USP Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) project, the Pacific region industry experts on Friday 23rd June endorsed two new micro-qualifications.
Titled ‘Scale-up Community-based Fisheries Management in the Pacific’ and ‘Enhance Agricultural and Fisheries Value Chains in the Pacific’; these micro-qualifications aim to improve the capacities of fisheries practitioners/trainers in the region to work towards marine resource sustainability for food and livelihood security in a changing climate context while considering gender and social inclusion.
Micro qualifications offer formal recognition through an alternative education pathway to bridge the skills gap in fisheries and related sectors. Part of this process involves the active engagement of relevant industries in the development of these two micro qualifications.” said Rajendra Prasad, Team Leader, Qualifications Unit, SPC. “This would result in improved skillsets and employability of the graduates of our training programs.” The role of the industry includes advice on the competencies and the standards of the micro qualification as subject specialists and developing a Qualifications Document and other relevant materials.
Micro qualifications are a form of certification as per the Pacific Qualifications Framework that focuses on specific skills or knowledge in a particular area; hence typically shorter and more targeted than traditional degrees or certifications.
Graduates will advance their career pathways in national or regional fisheries agencies, non-governmental and civil society organizations in the area of community-based fisheries management (CBFM) and agricultural and fisheries value chains.
Taratei Uriam, Community-based Fisheries Management Project Coordinator, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resource Development in Kiribati said that “Back in Kiribati, community-based fisheries management is a huge work that requires a set of knowledge and different aspects including fisheries management, gender and social inclusion and such. And I believe that this micro-qualification would have a greater impact on our fisheries when we have more skilled people on the ground doing this work.”
“There are a lot of things to learn from and one thing I really want to highlight is my growing understanding of how a micro-qualification is developed, the parameters used, and the number of learning hours in order for students to graduate in a micro-qualification program.” Dr Lindon Havimana, Senior Lecturer, Solomon Islands University.
“These micro-qualifications are expected to be delivered in 2024 after undergoing the final process of accreditation by the Pacific Community’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP).” said Lavenie Tawake, USP PEUMP Team Leader. “USP PEUMP will further support the delivery of these programs through sponsorship of the first cohorts across the Project’s targeted countries in the Pacific.”
USP is one of four key implementing partners of the PEUMP Programme, an initiative funded by the European Union and the Swedish government. The overall EUR 45million program promotes sustainable management and sound ocean governance for food security and economic growth while addressing climate change resilience and conservation of marine biodiversity.
The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership (PEUMP) Programme addresses some of the most serious challenges faced by Pacific countries. Among these are the increasing depletion of coastal fisheries resources; the threats to marine biodiversity, including negative impacts of climate change and disasters; the uneven contribution of oceanic fisheries to national economic development; the need for improved education and training; and the need to mainstream a rights-based approach and to promote greater recognition of gender issues to ensure inclusiveness and positive changes for Pacific island people. The seven-year PEUMP programme is funded by the European Union (EUR 35 million) and the government of Sweden (EUR 10 million). It is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC), the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) in close collaboration with Non-Government Organisations and the national authorities.