After spending 32 years as a tailor, Malakai Fonua opted to broaden his knowledge and make the most out of his experience by enrolling for further training with the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC).
Malakai is now a fashion student at APTC in Fiji, studying for a Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology (MST30816), and recently shared how grateful he is for the opportunity to hone and develop his talents in sewing and fashion.
“I have always known how to sew and use the machine, but things like sketching and designing I did not, and that is why I am here,” he said.
Malakai, along with Sioeli Lauakai and Latai Tokehau Otutaha, is among three students from Tonga currently studying at APTC.
Sioeli worked as a welder in Halaleva and is now completing his Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (MEM30305) at APTC in Samoa.
“I met someone who studied with APTC back at home and now works in New Zealand who always encouraged individuals to study with APTC because of its industry-level standards,” shared Sioeli.
“For me, studying at APTC will broaden my knowledge in my field of expertise.”
Sioeli hopes to explore opportunities for working abroad as well as share his knowledge of the industry back in his home country.
Latai is a vocational teacher at Nuku’alofa’s Queen Salote College where she has taught for the past three years in Levels 1 and 2 in catering and cookery.
She is currently completing her Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816) at APTC in Samoa.
“Being with APTC, I feel like I have gained a family. I want to spread the word to everyone, young or old, this is a wonderful opportunity available to anyone,” she said.
Latai encourages others to take up such learning opportunities, in order to enhance their skills and knowledge in their trades.
“APTC is in its twelfth year of providing Pacific Island citizens with Australian skills and qualifications for a range of vocational careers,” said Cheri Robinson Moors, APTC Country Director for Samoa and Tonga.
“So far more than 500 Tongan nationals have graduated from APTC and through our partnership with the Tonga Chamber for Commerce and Industry, we look forward to continuing to support the Tongan Government’s efforts in skills development through technical and vocational education and training.”
ATPC in Samoa has also introduced the Certificate III in Skills for Work and Vocational Pathways (FSK20113), a new course designed for adult learners intending to upskill in preparation for vocational education.
Ms Moors encouraged Tongan nationals interested in upskilling with APTC to contact the Tonga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or to visit APTC’s website: www.aptc.edu.au.