Driving change in Tuvalu’s skilled trades sector

Reading Time: 3 min read

When Ms Katalina Taloka was tasked with developing training materials for the newly founded Tuvalu Atoll Science and Technology Training Institute (TASTTI) in 2018, she immediately knew where to turn to for assistance.

“As a small country, Tuvalu can benefit a lot from COL’s resources and pool of experts. Knowing that there is someone out there who can help gave me motivation and confidence to take risks and try out new things,” she says.

Ms Taloka has been involved in training learners towards TASTTI qualifications using COL’s open educational resources for basic trades. An experienced educationalist, she helped identify courses and modules to be taught at the Institute.

“These people had been out of school for so long, that they could not do a pen-and-paper instruction but needed a lot of training that was hands-on,” notes Ms Taloka describing how COL helped adapt available resources to the local context.

Ms Taloka has also coordinated a project focusing on training workers in Tuvalu’s Public Works Department (PWD) towards formal qualifications using a blend of workplace plus online learning. With COL’s support, 45% of PWD workers responsible for maintaining the country’s public infrastructure will gain formal qualifications.

Since the project began in late 2020, eight workplace assessors have been trained with COL’s support. These qualified tradespersons who have studied overseas will now train and assess TASTTI students. As well, 45 PWD staff have enrolled in TASTTI’s programme towards a New Zealand trades skills certificate.

COL’s Education Specialist: Technical and Vocational Skills Development, Ms Terry Neal, said: “It is exciting to see this project piloting a new model to help Tuvalu boost the skills of its trades people. Other Pacific Island countries face similar challenges and can also benefit from this model.”

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