Bernard sees job chances rising


ELEVEN pioneer students completed trade test level one in carpentry at the St Mary’s Technical School in Mingende last week.
One of the pioneer students, James Bernard, told The National that getting a trade certificate was the greatest achievement in his life because it was something he thought was not possible for him.
“For me as a village carpenter, I have been designing and building different types of furniture and buildings based on request and that’s just part of my life,” he said.
“I am better off in carpentry, I can do anything that is required.
“But for me to get a better deal or a better employment to suit my carpentry knowledge and skills with a potential employer like mining, construction and building companies, is very difficult because I don’t have the papers to prove that I am qualified.”
Bernard said although he had the knowledge and skills which are better that those who had gone through some formal carpentry courses and schools, his skills and knowledge are hard to be recognised.
“Employers recruit people who don’t have the experience like me but they recruit them because they have the papers, the tradesmen’s certificate.
Bernard said that had been the challenge not only for carpentry, but for other trades like mechanics and electricians.
“There is no pathway created for such people.
“I was thinking of pursing a tradesmen’s test, but travelling to Port Moresby is quite expensive for us, the simple people, to afford.
“So I find myself going around in circles until this trade testing centre was said to be established with 11 of us being the pilot students.
“Now, I just can’t believe I got my level one trade certificate in carpentry.
Bernard said trade testing centres should be established out in the provinces to make it possible for people like him to access them so the local skills workforce in the country could improve and increase.
“We can even export our skill workforce overseas if the government can seriously invest in skill development,” Bernard said.