More than 70 students graduated from 15 different programmes at the Australia Pacific Technical College (APTC), yesterday.
Held at the Tuanaimato Gym 1, the occassion was well attended by family, friends and special guests of APTC.
The students graduated from programmes such as carpentry, early childhood education and care, education support, electro technology electrician, engineering fabrication, engineering mechanical trade (fitting and machining), hospitality, light vehicle mechanical technology, patisserie, plumbing, tourism, business, leadership and management, training and assessment, and youth work.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi congratulated the graduates.
“As I look around, I can see the proud faces of our graduates filled with a sense of accomplishment and I know the feeling,” he said.
“Your achievement is not only a proud moment to yourself, but to your loved ones and everyone that played their part in getting you to this day.
“Seventy-eight talented men and women will be awarded qualifications in 14 different programmes, which include educational support, technology, electrician, leadership, and many more.
“The largest group of students to graduate at this ceremony will be in the Certificate III in Educational Support Programme, with 18 students.
“It was introduced for the first time in Samoa this year, because of the strong demand to have qualified teaching assistants who can work in a range of education settings, supporting teachers to provide an inclusive education in an environment ensuring access to education for all children.”
Moreover, he recalled back in the day, when the idea to established APTC was first brought up by the then Australian Prime Minister at the Pacific Islands Forum.
“We supported Australia’s offer of setting up APTC in the Pacific region amd since then it has grown considerably, and I am delighted to witness how much the college has achieved in Samoa and the Pacific over the last 10 years,” he said.
“I am also pleased of the supporting role the Government of Samoa has played in facilitating the growth and development of APTC, in our country.
“We host one of five APTC campuses and it has provided Samoans and other Pacific Islanders with the opportunity to gain the skills they need in order to work and live productive lives.
“In just 10 years, APTC has produced over 11,000 graduates from across the Pacific, this includes over 1,300 Samoan men and women.
“Its qualifications have opened doors for graduates in new or improved employment, as well as the potential to work overseas, and I am sure some of you must have heard of the APTC Samoan carpentry graduates who are now in New Zealand to help rebuild houses in Christchurch.”
Aneti Vaamao Tuigamala spoke on behalf of the graduates, acknowledging the support of the lecturers, parents and families.
“You have brought a great standard of ability, opened new perspectives and broadened our dreams and ambitions, along with providing widespread chances for many of us in Samoa, as well as for our Pacific neighbors,” he said.
“The ability, understanding and the veracious boldness has enlightened us to endlessly study, progress on our current status quo and has, without any hesitation, guaranteed Samoa, and all involved Pacific countries, with a better future in the businesses we are employed in, our communities, our families and villages, besides serving God and our respective churches.
“The challenges we faced throughout our journey has taught us lessons about perseverance and it has tested us individually to revise our potential to become better citizens for our country.
“It has also taught us unity, because we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we have today if it wasn’t for your support.
“Thanks to our parents and loved ones for all the support while we were fighting a good battle throughout the year.”
Australian High Commissioner to Samoa, Sue Langford, encouraged the graduates to live their dreams.
“I leave you with these last words, 'Go confident in the direction of your dreams and live life the way you deserve it,'” she said.