APTC Board Meeting #5, 2-3 March 2020, Canberra Australia
The reconstituted APTC Board held its first meeting of 2020 in Canberra over two days. The Board warmly welcomed the appointment of new members: The Hon. Dr Teuea Toatu MP from Kiribati, Ms Fantasha Lockington from Fiji and Ms Lesieli Taviri from Papua New Guinea; and Ms Megan Lilly, Dr Richard Brown and Mr Bill Costello from Australia. The Board also warmly welcomed the re-appointment of Tuiloma Neroni Slade from Samoa, who joined the meeting by phone for discussions on the second day. The Hon. Charmaine Scotty MP from Nauru attended the meeting as an outgoing Board member.
By way of induction of new members, the Board received a briefing from APTC management on the historical evolution of APTC; on the present scope of APTC Phase 3, including the APTC Strategic Planning Map; and possible future scenarios. The Board also discussed the Board Charter and clarified roles and responsibilities.
The Board was pleased to note in the CEO’s report progress in relation to APTC performance against its Annual Operating Plan, and progress towards its End of Program Outcomes, including in relation to Student End of Course Satisfaction and Employer Satisfaction. The Board was also pleased to note the positive results from the Employee Engagement Survey.
Board member Dr Richard Brown led a Board discussion on Remittances and Human Development in the Pacific and noted, inter alia, that the existence of migration opportunities stimulates investment in education, while remittances provide the funds to invest in education.
The Board and senior APTC management met with the Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, The Hon. Alex Hawke MP and discussed a range of matters including Pacific labour mobility and capacity development of national skills development systems in the Pacific.
The Board hosted a dinner for members of the Pacific diplomatic corps. Ms Danielle Heinecke, First Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Pacific within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade addressed the dinner.
The Board received presentations on labour mobility as a key element of the Australian Government’s Pacific Step-up. The presentations and discussion encompassed the Pacific Labour Scheme, the work of the Pacific Labour Facility, the current and potential contribution of APTC to labour mobility and the importance of the ongoing relationship between the Pacific Labour Facility and APTC. The Board noted the distinctions between the Seasonal Workers Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme; the evolving policy environment for Pacific labour mobility; and the centrality of labour mobility to Pacific economic growth.
The Board discussed current and potential APTC approaches to transitioning from a training provider directly delivering Australian qualifications to an enabling organisation that supports the Pacific’s own TVET systems to deliver internationally recognised training. The Board noted progress by APTC in working in partnership with Pacific TVET systems and stakeholders, and the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships to achieving APTC objectives. The Board discussed the challenges and risks associated with the transition from college to coalition, and emphasised the need to be ambitious but also realistic about what can be achieved and within what time-frame.
The Board discussed Co-investment as one of APTC’s three End of Program Outcomes, and the expectation that co-investment in skills training will increase over the life of APTC3 to 2026. The Board concluded that the assumptions underpinning the co-investment outcome could usefully be considered further at the next Board meeting in the context of a broader discussion on sustainable financing.
The next meeting of the Board will be held in Port Moresby, likely in November 2020.
Kaye Schofield AO