APIA, SAMOA – 11 JUNE 2020: Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, young Tongan students remain hopeful for the future as they continue their learning journey with the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) in Samoa.
Nineteen-year-old Kulufeinga Siamau Manu from Havelu, Tonga, who had been working with his family-owned business for the past four years, made the commitment to upskill in the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery (SIT30816) program at APTC in Samoa.
Kulufeinga said he was motivated to sign up for training to boost his efficiency and to give something back to his family business.
“The skill sets that we are being taught here are relevant and valuable. I know APTC will help me reach my goals of helping out with my family’s café,” he said.
Kulufeinga’s family owns the popular Mum’s Café in Nukualofa, renowned for its fresh, local and organic food.
Sharing the same enthusiasm, 22-year-old Teolosia Falemaka said he hoped to upgrade his qualifications to complement Tonga’s developing plumbing industry.
Teolosia, who hails from Fasi-moe-afi, Nuku’alofa, is currently training in the Certificate III in Plumbing (CPC32413) program, and dreams of owning a plumbing business one day.
“I would like to be the youngest person to have started a successful plumbing business in Tonga. I want to use my skills to create a reputation back home of quality in the plumbing industry.”
Prior to studying with APTC, Teolosia completed his plumbing apprenticeship with the Tonga Institute of Science and Technology.
“My teacher, who trained at APTC, always pushed and challenged us to learn more so I took that advice and put that as my goal. I want to be the best plumber and I believe that APTC is a great start,” Teolosia said.
While their training in Samoa was put on hold for some weeks in compliance with Samoa’s National State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students appreciated the measures taken at the time.
Teolosia acknowledged that this had been a tremendously difficult and worrying time for all the students.
“I had many goals for this semester, which were unfortunately interrupted. However, with the campus re-opening earlier in May, we are again determined to do our best and accomplish what we set out to achieve.”
He urged everyone to prioritise their health, maintain good hygiene practices and to be kind in these challenging times.
“I have learnt to value my time here, as life is precious, and we need to make the most of it,” Teolosia said.
With efforts continuing to ensure the health and safety of students, support their training continuation, and return them to their home countries wherever possible, APTC is excited to see Kulufeinga and Teolosia’s progress in their training with the confidence that they will achieve great career success.