The National, Thursday July 4th, 2013
THE Government’s K60 million investment in 580 trade skills development students in the past three years in Townsville, Australia, is not a waste, a senior public servant said yesterday.
“In middle income economies like ours, 60% of the workforce consists of tradespersons who do not only pay taxes and employ others, they drive the wheels of the economy,” director-general of the Office of Higher Education (OHE) Prof David Kavanamur said.
Kavanamur was speaking at the fifth graduation ceremony for 29 students who received certificates in automotive mechanics, electro-technology, sustainable energy and engineering at the Institute of TAFE at Townsville.
Another 32 graduated in Cairns last Thursday in other trades.
Kavanamur urged the graduates to take their knowledge with them to help the government develop the country.
He said almost K90,000 had been spent on each one of them at the expense of infrastructure developments in the country.
“We recognise that all else depend on human capital in PNG – the social and economic significance in harnessing trade skills to position the current phase of development to the next higher level befitting its economic growth and performance, which has been hovering up to 9% in the past decade,” he said.
A 2010 report by the OHE and the Department of Planning and Monitoring stated that the country had a shortage of trade skills of about 30% and that one out of three people occupying a trade job was not qualified.
PNG Chamber of Commerce president David Conn gave his support for the programme on behalf of the business community, saying it was a way forward for the country.