Monday 23 March 2015, Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC)-The Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) has been partnering with the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) to deliver training targeted towards building the capacity of Samoa’s tourism workers and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the country’s tourism sector.
Since 2014, over 400 industry workers have been trained by APTC including tour guides, fale workers, food providers, hospitality workers in tourism, food and beverage, front desk, cookery and housekeeping, as well as middle-level and senior-level managers.
APTC is a development initiative funded by the Australian Government to deliver training and to increase the supply of skilled workers in targeted sectors in the Pacific region. APTC has campuses in Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
The bulk of the training provided to local tourism operators has been part of the Tourism Cyclone Recovery program funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme. This programme was designed to ensure a rapid and integrated recovery of the tourism sector following the devastating effects of Cyclone Evan in Samoa in December 2012.
The Chief Executive Officer of STA, Papali’I Matatamali’i Sonja Hunter says that the partnership with APTC has brought about better quality of services that Samoa now offers to tourists, in comparison to the level and standard that existed before.
“Training providers like APTC have helped in the achievement of the Samoan Government’s vision and national objective in building the capacity of those employed in the tourism sector,” she added.
Papali’i is confident that the partnership will continue to accelerate national objectives and outcomes in service delivery that will exceed visitor expectations through properly trained employees in the tourism sector.
Francis Howes, APTC Country Manager for Samoa, said “the APTC training provides the tourism industry in Samoa with a pool of skilled and qualified workers, at both the entry level and the management level, who have been trained to Australian standard. These workers can immediately take these skills into their workplaces to deliver improved productivity as well as share their knowledge with fellow workers.”
Since 2007, APTC has an ongoing partnership with STA. Working with partners like STA has proved vital, says Francis, as it provides APTC with information about relevant industry needs and future developments.
She added that APTC is committed to providing training solutions to meet the technical and vocational education needs of the region, especially for vital sectors like tourism, which in Samoa, contributes to more than 20 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The training for Samoa’s tourism sector included short courses on Hygiene and Food Safety, Customer Service, Tour Guiding, Food and Beverage as well as full Australian qualifications in Certificate III in Hospitality (Lodge) and Diploma of Management. Francis said that the feedback from the training participants was overwhelmingly positive with regards to the training quality and its relevance to their workplaces.
The training also helped enable some local food providers and chefs to provide high quality hygiene and service to delegates at international events in Samoa like the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the Teuila Festival held in 2014.
H.E. Jackie Frizelle, New Zealand High Commissioner noted how pleased she was “that we have been able to provide support through the New Zealand Aid Programme that has helped Samoa showcase its local cuisine and produce on the international stage.”
Tourism earnings in Samoa have steadily increased to around $330 million in 2014 and there are almost 5000 people in direct employment in the Tourism industry. This is expected to increase to 6700 in tourism employees by 2019.