Industry Partners at USP Pacific Technical and Further Education’s (Pacific TAFE) Industry Consultation at the Nadi Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Pacific Technical and Further Education (Pacific TAFE) met its industry partners for consultation at the Nadi Hospitality and Tourism Training Centre, Nadi, Fiji, on 1 June 2018.
Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Learning, Teaching and Student Services, welcomed everyone and thanked them for joining Pacific TAFE for another industry consultation in the Western Division.
Professor Coll said that in comparison with past years, the speed of change is rapid and there is a need to be flexible and fast in adapting to the industry and people’s needs, hence the reason for the industry consultation.
He stated that industry professional bodies need to be set up to advice about standards adding that, industry placement is allowed by employers in Fiji but there is a need for industries to be part of placement planning as well.
“That is the reason we are here in Nadi again for consultation. At USP, we have Industry Programme Advisory Committees, industry participation in Campus Life activities and industry mentoring programmes to name a few,” Professor Coll said.
He highlighted that the engagement needed to go further such as collaboration and awareness to students and parents, advocacy to policy makers, conferences, and sharing of best practices.
Talking about the Nadi Hospitality & Tourism Training Centre, Professor Coll said that since the Centre started last year, it is gaining momentum, and acknowledged the contributions of members of the local industry.
“Training at Pacific TAFE is driven by industry input and needs and as such it needs to be grounded on real life experience,” he commented.
For this, Professor Coll noted that the students need real life experience as part of their learning journey and work placements are built into all tourism and hospitality qualifications.
Dr Ram Raju, President of the Nadi Chamber of Industry and Commerce acknowledged USP for bringing quality hospitality and tourism courses to the Western Division and commended Pacific TAFE for its physical presence in Nadi especially in its 50th year of existence.
“I thank USP as we are so happy that they are now in Nadi and we have more providers offering quality education,” said Mr Raju.
Ms Robyn Heymans a member of the Fiji Human Resources Institute highlighted her concerns about the lack of quality chefs in Fiji.
“A crucial area that we struggle a lot with is finding good chefs and maintain them,” Ms Heymans said. She further queried on the number of students enrolling for the culinary courses at USP.
In response, Mr Hasmukh Lal, Executive Director, Pacific TAFE highlighted that that USP’s Pacific TAFE offers internationally accredited cookery qualifications which has seen an increase in growth in the recent years.
“Our graduates are marketable, competent, and are qualified chef,” he said.
Mr Hamish McCracken, Head of College Business Tourism and Hospitality said at the moment there are approximately sixty (60) cookery students and the number is expected to rise to a hundred (100) by the same time next year.
Deep appreciation for USP Pacific TAFE’s vision to organise the industry consultation was also shared by Mr Richard Cross, Executive Chef for Mana Island Resort and Spa Fiji.
He mentioned that chef training should include dietary requirements, which were agreed to by Pacific TAFE.
“It was good to see the enthusiasm of the trainees after the presentation at the consultation whilst noticing them in the kitchen serving the canapés. At the end of the day it is important they are given a chance to learn and I applaud any trainee who wishes to excel and to become qualified chefs in this chosen profession,” Mr Cross said.
Much interest was generated on Workforce Development Training Unit (WDTU) short courses and the Nadi Business Community welcomed their expansion in the Western Division.
The WDTU website was also launched as part of the Industry Consultation event. Enrollment for Semester two (2) 2018 for USP Pacific TAFE is currently underway.
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