Five Tokelau students graduated at Don Bosco Training Centre last Friday from an Electrical Special Training Course that had been taught for the first time.
The course was co-sponsored by the Tokelau Department of Energy, growing from a need for qualified electricians in the atoll nation.
The five electrical students were treated to a special graduation ceremony, with their family and friends; they were Sio Kave Inaleo, Antilea Chricton, Elisala Isaako, Elia Tamoa, and Toloa Lopa. Only one of the six who originally started the course did not make it through.
The graduation programme at Don Bosco Technical School in Alafua included a thanksgiving mass led by Fr Filipo Tofilau. He not only proved an accomplished mass celebrant and entertaining speaker, but an excellent singer as well.
The keynote speech was presented by Tokelau’s ceremonial Head of State, Te Ulu o Tokelau, from Nukunonu this year (the position rotates annually among the three atolls). Aliki Faipule Siopili Perez handed each of the graduates their certificate and a special gift: a wooden carved fish hook pendant.
Well over a hundred third and fourth-year students then entertained the crowd with an electric Samoan performance. The dances comprised both the restrained religious variety (a creative rendering of “This is how we worship”) and the rowdy and boisterous type. The performance was well received by all.
Tokelauan students and public servants present, then showed their appreciation by performing traditional Tokelauan dances. These are characterised in part by paddling-inspired movements at the accompaniment of ever faster singing and beat.
All agreed this was a day to remember, and a new step towards Tokelau’s self-sufficiency in providing essential services on the home front.
Having graduated, the five men are now able to carry out general electrical wiring that complies with the Australian /New Zealand 3000 standard of installations in their respective villages Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu.
“Not only will their efforts give them great satisfaction and a sense of achievement, they will also help raise the level of experience in the energy industry back at home,” says Tokelau Energy Director Robin Pene.
“Tokelau has a unique power facility based entirely on solar renewable energy, with mini-grid networks on each of the three atolls. The systems are very effective in providing quality power to all consumers around the clock.
Robin Pene: “Properly trained staff are essential to maintaining electricity as a basic necessity in modern quality of life. The knowledge of electrical theory and practice will help the graduates also toward future opportunities if they wish to further their skills in the electrical industry.”