S.Q.A. improves partnerships to upskill workers

Samoa Qualification Authority (S.Q.A.) continues to work towards improving partnerships between Post School Education and Training (P.S.E.T.) and the workplace to upskill employees. 

CEO Letuimanu’asina Dr. Emma Va’ai said Thursday as a follow up on the outcome statement of the P.S.E.T. Annual Conference 2018, it’s been “good” with a lot of support from National University of Samoa and the Australia Pacific Technical Coalition (APTC).

“We also helped the training of teachers and trainers because now there are professional standards for teachers and trainers in the tertiary and post school T.V.E.T. areas,” she said.

She said S.Q.A. is also looking into accrediting non-formal providers, including training within workplaces.

“We’re also looking at non-formal providers, those who are not really institutions but for example other Ministries and other workplaces with good training going on.

“Therefore some of that training needs to be recognised so that people who are getting certificates from those training can also move on and use those certificates or qualifications in their own job or even go further in their own training,” she added.

Touching upon challenges that the S.Q.A. has encountered, she said it is mainly funding.

“But we have good support from our donor partners for example New Zealand and Australia where we have post school education and training support fund.

“And with this fund we help the institutions with the resources, assist with payments of fees of vulnerable students. Students who are quite good but they are unable to pay the fees due to financial circumstances,” she said.

Other services include quality assurance required by S.Q.A. and quality management system for each institution, which she said was also important.

“We also support teachers and trainers in upgrading their skills in teaching but also upgrading their qualifications, for example the maritime schools, we’ve also supported their trainings in places like Manukau Institutes of Maritime Trainings in NZ.

“We actually go on site and see that they have proper facilities in order to deliver the programmes that they have qualified personnel to deliver and that their own environment is safe for the staff and that their systems are efficient and good enough to manage and administer a school, as a training provider,” she said.

“Now with the workplace partnership, we are also bringing in the employers, and the employers are so supportive because they know that the graduates come to them, and I know some employers are helping with providing work experience.

“And so we also try to ensure that the students come for the work experience and work attachments that those workplaces do provide the work experience warranted for the training for their qualification that comes from the provider,” she added.

Oliva Misa from the N.U.S. Air Condition and Refrigeration trade, who was present at the conference, said this was a great way to bridge the gap between the graduates and potential employers.

“There are many graduates coming out of schools but they cannot meet requirements needed for the jobs available and that’s where this may be useful,” said the 26-year-old.

A teacher from the Laumua O Punaoa Technical Center for Fine Arts, Sio Veataulia from Tuomua, said there should also be support for graduates who are unable to attend further trainings due to family commitments.

“Personally sometimes graduates usually coming out of schools end up not looking for a job due to family commitments, with some who come back and say because there is no one else that can stay with their parents.

“Those graduates may become self-employed, doing works for their own family, maybe their neighbors and village, as long as they have graduated and certified.

“And these are some of the things we need to look into to have some support for these kids, other than those who go straight into jobs after their work experiences and such after graduating,” he added.

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