Samoa Qualifications Authority signs new partnership

The Samoa Qualifications Authority (S.Q.A.) and the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (A.P.T.C.) have inked a new one-year partnership which both parties have likened to a marriage.

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U.) capped the Post-School Education Training (P.S.E.T.) annual conference that concluded on Friday at the Taumeasina Island Resort.

S.Q.A. Chairperson Gatoloaifaana Tilianamua Afamasaga signed on behalf of S.Q.A. She thanked the A.P.T.C. for their support.

"It’s a real pleasure to have this event as an apex event for the conference. The signing of this M.O.U. between A.P.T.C. and S.Q.A., the P.S.E.T. regulation body for Samoa. So there is a difference in terms of the roles that we bring to the partnership. We have likened this to marriage but unlike a marriage, it’s for only one year with the prospect of extension should the partners think it is fit to do so and this is the nature of M.O.U.s,” said Gatoloaifaana.

"In this M.O.U., our bride is a very rich bride so the bride is bringing a huge dowry into this marriage. And for that we are very grateful because…it actually demonstrates a real commitment on the part of A.P.T.C. to the development of S.Q.A. and the fact that they have been able to commit these kinds of resources to the S.Q.A. 

"We thank TAFE Queensland, and, of course, Cheri for organising this over the last two years.”    

The partnership will accomplish three goals: enhanced inclusive quality and relevance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training, or T.V.E.T. training programs; enhance T.V.E.T. coordination and collaboration and create an avenue for research and information sharing.

Cheri Robinson-Moors, A.P.T.C. Country Director for Samoa and Tonga said the conversation they have been having with S.Q.A. has been building over two years.

“They played hard–to-get but I was committed to this partnership. I have been courting them for two years, building their trust demonstrating that we are sincere and genuine in our commitment to work with them as a real partner. 

"The partnership has been co-created and co-designed and what we are hoping to achieve with S.Q.A. is we want more enhanced (T.V.E.T.) coordination and collaboration. We want research and information sharing and activities that inform real T.V.E.T.”

Mrs. Robinson-Moors spoke on behalf of A.P.T.C. Interim Chief Executive Officer Janelle Chapman, who signed the M.O.U. with S.Q.A. 

She said the P.S.E.T. conference was “an amazing two days” and that it was a privilege to attend the conference proceedings, to be part of the discussions, to learn and to formalize A.P.T.C. and S.Q.A.’s partnership. 

A.P.T.C., the Australian government’s flagship program in training excellence and vocational training across the Pacific is backed by TAFE Queensland, an Australian training organization that has been key in A.P.T.C.’s efforts across the Pacific to deliver Australian qualifications for Pacific island citizens.

“A.P.T.C. has been working in Samoa since 2007 and we have supported more than 1900 Samoan graduates in over 30 Australian qualifications…A.P.T.C.’s overarching goal is a more skilled, inclusive and productive workforce. 

"The general idea behind this is if our people have skills that are in demand, they will get jobs or they will produce income which in turn supports their families, their communities and overall our nation so that leads to prosperity,” Mrs. Robinson-Moors said.

"We are very much about employment, labour mobility, T.V.E.T. advocacy...building sustainable T.V.E.T. systems and working in partnership…when we consider what S.Q.A. does and what they are about as reflected in their P.S.E.T. strategic mission, to work in partnership with all providers and stakeholders to deliver relevantly and quality post-school education training that is inclusive, accessible to all learners and continues to be relevant to the needs of the national labour market demand.”

The focus of the P.S.E.T. conference was to improving employability through sustainable partnerships between P.S.E.T. and the workplace.

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