NEW TECH­NI­CAL COL­LEGE HAILED

PM tells Nadroga-Navosa their cam­pus will train stu­dents to take up jobs that are cur­rently in high de­mand and stop com­pa­nies from look­ing abroad

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - WAISEA NASOKIA

Par­ents have hailed the new Fiji Tech­ni­cal Col­lege Nadroga-Navosa Cam­pus in Cuvu, Si­ga­toka.

They say it has pro­vided a life­line and hope for their chil­dren’s fu­ture. Their re­sponse vin­di­cates Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to build the tech­ni­cal col­lege which was hit by con­tro­versy last year. SODELPA MP Vil­iame Ga­voka told Par­lia­ment that par­ents were op­posed to it. A mother, Mere­oni Salawaqa, said yes­ter­day af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama opened the tech­ni­cal col­lege: “This is a good in­vest­ment as I have seen a lot of changes in my 16-year-old son who is tak­ing up this course in cook­ery.” She said her son, To­masi Korabogi, dropped out of Tailevu North Col­lege and re­fused to re­turn to the school sys­tem. But To­masi had now changed his mind and had en­rolled in the course.

“He used to stay home but now he is ex­cited about this new ca­reer op­por­tu­nity and I sup­port him 100 per cent,” she said. An­other par­ent, Ramodi Tuicakau, 50, said his son who is 30 years old had also en­rolled in cook­ery. “I am proud of my son for his choice to be part of the learn­ing cen­tre. I know he will learn a lot.”

Marasilina Waqali, 44, said her son loved to learn on the job and this in­sti­tu­tion favoured her son’s vi­sion for his ca­reer op­tion. Vil­lage el­der Jone­tani Gonewai said: “We thank the Gov­ern­ment for giv­ing us op­tions to im­prove our lives es­pe­cially for the young gen­er­a­tion in set­ting up this kind of fa­cil­ity.” Mr Bain­i­marama said jobs cur­rently in high de­mand would be filled by grad­u­ates of the new Nadroga-Navosa Pro­vin­cial Tech­ni­cal Col­lege and other tech­ni­cal col­leges. He said this would stop com­pa­nies from look­ing abroad for skilled work­ers.

He said: “Let me tell all the peo­ple of Nadroga Navosa: a modern, in­clu­sive, com­pre­hen­sive and qual­ity ed­u­ca­tional op­tion has ar­rived at your door step.”

“Your young peo­ple now join the 2777 other stu­dents en­rolled in Tech­ni­cal Col­leges through­out the na­tion. Young peo­ple who are learn­ing valu­able skills that trans­late into re­ward­ing jobs. “Jobs that are cur­rently in very high de­mand due to a lack of lo­cal ca­pac­ity. “Many com­pa­nies have been forced to look abroad, but, as this cam­pus grad­u­ates stu­dents, they will no longer have to. The tal­ent will be right here in Nadroga.

“In Fiji, we have a young, en­er­getic pop­u­la­tion. And that is a great ad­van­tage if we are able to har­ness that en­ergy and give our young peo­ple the means to re­alise their hopes. Young peo­ple are in­her­ently op­ti­mistic.

“They see their lives ahead of them and a world of pos­si­bil­i­ties un­fold­ing be­fore them. We need to nur­ture that op­ti­mism and re­in­force that op­ti­mism. Years from now, when the young peo­ple of to­day look back on these years, they need to know that their op­ti­mism was real and jus­ti­fied—not just the folly of starry-eyed youth. That is what I want for them—for you.

“We will do this by cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, by cre­at­ing path­ways that al­low our young peo­ple to be pro­duc­tive, to have a fu­ture, and to con­trib­ute to the dev-

el­op­ment of our grow­ing econ­omy.

“And that is what this new cam­pus rep­re­sents – op­por­tu­nity. The op­por­tu­nity to de­velop skills in the ar­eas of me­chan­i­cal engi­neer­ing, car­pen­try, cook­ing, wood­work­ing and many other fields. Skills that are as im­por­tant to the de­vel­op­ment of our econ­omy as any other field of study. Be­cause mea­sures that make the Fi­jian work­force more com­pet­i­tive is one that my Gov­ern­ment is keen to pur­sue. “Putting our young peo­ple to work is one of my Gov­ern­ment’s ma­jor pri­or­i­ties. That means giv­ing them valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge to pre­pare them for the chal­lenges and de­mands of the work­ing world. “Ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing is the most ef­fec­tive way to do that, and the es­tab­lish­ment of this cam­pus is an im­por­tant step in mak­ing that hap­pen. But that is only one of the ways my Gov­ern­ment is work­ing to em­power and el­e­vate the sta­tus of our young peo­ple.

“I’ve said many times be­fore, that the work my Gov­ern­ment has done to in­crease ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion – our ed­u­ca­tion rev­o­lu­tion in Fiji – is our crown­ing achieve­ment. So I’m de­lighted to take an­other step in ad­vanc­ing ed­u­ca­tion in Fiji by open­ing the new Nadroga-Navosa Pro­vin­cial Tech­ni­cal Col­lege cam­pus. “This cam­pus is part of a na­tion­wide sys­tem and a na­tion­wide pri­or­ity. In fact, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion is open­ing eight new tech­ni­cal col­lege cam­puses all over Fiji in the com­ing weeks. “Eight new cam­puses that will teach our young peo­ple the trade skills they need to find mean­ing­ful ca­reers and en­joy pro­duc­tive lives. These skills give our young peo­ple a strong foun­da­tion to build on. “This cam­pus stands as one of the largest tech­ni­cal col­lege cam­puses in Fiji, and will draw stu­dents from vil­lages, ur­ban cen­tres, sub­urbs and set­tle­ments. It is also the only cam­pus to in­clude hos­tel fa­cil­i­ties, which will ease the bur­den of those stu­dents who need to travel from deep ru­ral and mar­itime ar­eas.”

“We recog­nise that full-time course loads do not suit ev­ery­one’s sched­ules. So I would urge many of you to con­sider the short cour­ses of­fered in the evenings – in ar­eas such as cook­ing, car­pen­try, weld­ing, engi­neer­ing and other skills that you can de­velop in your free time.” He said in May this year, we grad­u­ated our first classes from the three pi­o­neer FNU tech­ni­cal col­lege cam­puses.

Of the 350 grad­u­ates, 70 per cent were al­ready in the work­force, while the rest had opted to con­tinue their ed­u­ca­tion at FNU. “So the de­mand is there. The op­por­tu­nity is there.”

Photo: Raevenn Breen

From left: Min­is­ter for Ed­u­ca­tion Dr Ma­hen­dra Reddy, act­ing di­rec­tor Fiji Tech­ni­cal Col­lege David Wed­lock, Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama and the deputy sec­re­tary for Ed­u­ca­tion Ti­moci Bure dur­ing the open­ing of the Fiji Tech­ni­cal Col­lege at Cuvu, Nadroga yes­ter­day.

Photo: Raevenn Breen

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama of­fi­cially open­ing the Fiji Tech­ni­cal Col­lege, Nadroga-Navosa Cam­pus in Cuvu, Nadroga yes­ter­day.

Photo: Raevenn Breen

Prime Min­is­ter Voreqe Bain­i­marama with staff and fac­ulty of the Fiji Tech­ni­cal Col­lege, Nadroga-Navosa Cam­pus in Cuvu, Nadroga yes­ter­day.

JY­OTI PRAT­I­BHA Man­ag­ing Ed­i­tor News M: (679) 9982077 Email: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj

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