Over 300 Pacific women have graduated with Australian-standard trades and technology qualifications from the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) since its establishment in 2007.
APTC is a development initiative funded by the Australian Government to deliver training in order to increase the supply of skilled workers in targeted sectors in the Pacific region. APTC has campuses in Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
While trades and technology are male-dominated sectors, APTC continues to encourage applications from females who have chosen this as a career path.
Victoria Mopio from Papua New Guinea is an example of a female trades graduate who successfully completed a program at APTC. Mopio always had an interest in a career as a professional painter. With no formal training, her options for expanding in this career path were limited. All that changed when she was accepted into the Certificate III program in Painting and Decoration.
Studying at APTC was a good learning experience for Mopio, who said that the practical sessions taught by highly qualified and internationally accredited trainers helped her learn the technique and skills of painting and decorating.
After completing her studies, Mopio returned to PNG and took up a career as a full-time painter in a construction and building company.
Mopio says that the most exciting part of her job is to be working out in the field and to be able to earn more than before.
Another female graduate, Siteri Rasousou who completed a Certificate III in Mechanical Engineering (Diesel Fitting), said that she found the level of training at APTC to be of very high standards. These standards have allowed her to find employment overseas.
Now working in New Zealand, Rasousou says that she has been applying the things she learnt in class to her everyday work dealing with heavy vehicles and related technology.
“The training helped me to broaden my knowledge and to up skill myself to keep abreast with the changing technology especially with mechanical tasks that have evolved to include electronic technology,” she mentions.
APTC’s Acting Director for its School of Trades and Technology, Bede O’Brien explained that APTC helps develop skills needed for the relevant trade regardless of gender, adding that for female graduates, this empowers them to be able to demonstrate their skills and abilities in what is traditionally a male dominated area of employment.
“Our female trade graduates have demonstrated through the respective training program that they have exactly the same skills and knowledge as their male counterparts and that they can be just as successful in their chosen trade career,” he said.
Similar comments were shared by Roslyn Magalu, who holds the position of ‘APTC2Work tutor’ at the APTC campus in Papua New Guinea. Roslyn has been teaching students employability skills for the workplace. She said that female students are very competitive with their male counterparts in class, even though there are generally fewer female students.