A new partnership between The University of the South Pacific (USP) and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) was signed on Tuesday 20 April, 2021 at Laucala Campus, Suva.
The partnership will enable the two institutions to work collaboratively for quality Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) delivery and better employment outcomes for Pacific people.
Australia supports the work of USP as a key regional training centre for skills in the Pacific and the virtual signing yesterday reaffirms the longstanding partnership between USP and APTC, building on previous agreements signed in 2014 and 2018 respectively. A virtual signing event was organised to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.
Over the years, the USP-APTC partnership has resulted in several key outcomes, including the establishment of a joint training facility, the Pacific Fusion Restaurant in 2014, and the coordination of the inaugural Pacific Skills Summit in 2019.
Under this new agreement, APTC and USP through Pacific TAFE will further support Pacific Island citizens’ skills training needs for labour market demands, particularly for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The partnership focuses on key thematic areas, including collaborative approaches for training delivery, professional development opportunities, strengthening partnership governance and identifying regional priorities for better coordination.
Acting Vice-Chancellor and President of USP, Dr Giulio Paunga, said, “USP has a well-established relationship with Australia and with APTC through Pacific TAFE. TVET is significant and well recognised for the social and economic development of our Pacific Island countries and I am very pleased that USP and APTC will be working together to help embed TVET in regional and national systems for long-term sustainability.”
Interim CEO of APTC, Janelle Chapman, said the increased engagement between the two institutions will help better address the region’s need for training and skills development.
“The partnership offers an excellent opportunity to collaborate towards ensuring Pacific people are supported with skills they need for employment, both now and into the future,” she added.
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes, said Australia is pleased to invest in technical and vocational skills in the Pacific as part of its economic recovery efforts following COVID-19.
“Australia is a longstanding educational partner in the Pacific and we’re pleased to be supporting Pacific peoples to build these skills and prepare the region for economic recovery. The unique contributions of these two institutions is crucial to the overall success of this partnership,” he said.
As Australia’s flagship TVET investment in the Pacific, APTC has trained more than 16,000 Pacific women and men since its commencement in 2007.