THE Australian Government is very pleased to be supporting the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC) and technical education in Papua New Guinea and in other Pacific nations.
APTC provides greater access for Papua New Guineans to attain Australian trade and service qualifications.
In this way, it is contributing to PNG’s ambitions to develop its workforce and improve employment opportunities for Papua New Guineans, both domestically and internationally.
Technical qualifications are essential for the growing economy of PNG and are in demand by the private sector.
APTC is helping to fill this gap. Since its inception in 1997, 362 females and 956 males, a total of 1,318 Papua New Guineans, have graduated from APTC.
PNG is banking on these Papua New Guineans to drive innovation, entrepreneurship and dynamism.
PNG needs this to connect to the ever changing and increasingly connected global economy. Skilled workforces are vital to productivity and central to a nation’s competitiveness and progress.
PNG is benefitting from its vast natural resources but it will be its human resources that ultimately drive, shape and mobilise those benefits.
Governments, development partners, employers and higher learning institutions also need to work together to ensure training is relevant and that the job market has an adequate supply of high-skilled workers.
APTC’s partnerships with private companies means that the trade and service qualifications APTC offers are internationally recognised, in-demand, and that its graduates are valued by the private sector.
It is great to see a growing number of young women enrolling in trade certificates, in fields traditionally perceived as the domain of men.
Education really does help to break down barriers.
International experience has shown that investing in the education of girls delivers immense economic and social benefits.
Indeed it is the single most important activity that any country can support.
The World Bank estimates that eliminating barriers to women’s full participation can increase labour productivity by as much as 25%. PNG needs both men and women to be agents of change.
As a close friend and partner of PNG, Australia is committed to helping PNG improve opportunities for women.
Extracts from an address to the 13th graduation ceremony of the Australia Pacific Technical College in Port Moresby on 28 May 2014