NEWS

NEW TECHNICAL COLLEGE HAILED

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
19 Jul 2016 10:59
NEW TECHNICAL COLLEGE HAILED
Minister for Education Dr Mahendra Reddy, Acting Director Fiji Technical College David Wedlock, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, during the opening of the Fiji Technical College at Cuvu, Nadroga yesterday. Photo: RAEVENN BREEN

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 development 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.”

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Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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