Don Bosco plans to introduce more trade courses

The Don Bosco Technical College at Alafua plans to introduce more trade courses as it looks to expand its footprint to provide more educational opportunities for young Samoans.

The Administrator Grace Tavai So'o, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer, said the college has already got accreditation for seven of its courses and is in the process of getting more accredited.

"We started with a few trades initially and now we have over seven accredited and in the process of being accredited trades. This year for the first time in our history, our technical centre in Alafua started accepting female students and introduced three new trades," she said.

When asked about any future developments, she said: "Don Bosco Tech is planning on offering more trades that are in high demand like air conditioning and refrigeration repair and auto body repair."

The church-owned technical education facility also has a 95 per cent graduation rate, according to Ms So'o.

"Don Bosco Technical Centre proudly celebrates a yearly 95 per cent graduation rate. Typically, we have about 40 third year students and about 38 of them graduate with a specialized trade certification," she added.

During the students’ final term at the college, their third year students spend six weeks at various organisations including private sector companies to gain firsthand work experience. 

"The vast majority of these students secure employment at their assigned businesses," she added.

"We are grateful to all our partners who over the years have granted our students an opportunity to practice their trades during their internships and have been so impressed with our students that they hired them upon graduation."

Over the last 30 years, the college has expanded beyond their humble beginnings in Alafua to another facility in Savaii and now educates over 1,500 students a year.

One of the new courses that is set to be introduced in a fortnight is a sewing course that will be offered in the evenings and will run for 10 weeks.

"In two weeks, we will start offering a community sewing course. This course will be in the evenings and will run for 10 weeks. 

“Our hope is that just like we empower our students to learn a trade, adults and other young people in the community will attend the course, learn how to sew and go on to become entrepreneurs that support their families.

"Included in offering more trades and courses, we will continue to offer Samoan youth scholarships to gain an education and certification and also to learn the life skills that will enable them to become successful.”

Ms So'o said they also continue to appeal to individual benefactors as well as businesses and foreign governments on behalf of their students, in terms of scholarship sponsorship or meeting the needs of the college. 

The college also made history this year when they enrolled their first female students and currently have 20 young women enrolled.

"We are happy to report that these pioneer women are thriving and are empowered to practice trades that are typically male dominated," she added.

She further reiterated the college has the same educational level as Samoa’s local universities but is more affordable.

"We offer our students’ families more accommodations to pay their tuition especially families who may be struggling financially. Families only have to pay one registration fee for the year unlike other institutions that require multiple registrations per year," she said.

"A very unique quality of Don Bosco Technical Centre is our Salesian style of education which includes reason, religion and loving kindness. 

"This means that our teachers and staff accompany our students wholeheartedly and joyfully, we are present and available to students both in school and in the community, and we foster an environment of love, family and friendship."

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