Torgil Rural Training Centre in partnership with the Sanma Skills Centre commenced delivery of the first accredited plumbing skills training this month in Santo. The program has been the culmination of extensive planning with provincial stakeholders in Sanma province including the Provincial Government Training Board, the Rural Water Authority and the local communities in Bombua.

16 participants are learning new plumbing skills in irrigation and piping, water tank installation and occupational health and safety. James Matariki is the lead trainer—James is the only formally qualified Ni-Vanuatu plumber in Vanuatu. He studied with the Australia-Pacific Technical College and is very enthusiastic about sharing his industry skills and knowledge with the trainees. The trainees come from private sector, public enterprises and self-employed trades operators. Some of the trainees have existing plumbing skills. This program will provide an opportunity for them to receive formal recognition, and build new skills to improve their businesses.

The qualification comprises 4 units from the Certificate 2 in Plumbing. James and co-trainer Willie Ben Tabi are delivering a mix of theoretical and practical skills with an emphasis on onsite training at the village. This qualification was developed by the Vanuatu Qualifications Authority in response to demand for plumbing skills in the national building and construction industry. James has been affiliated with the Torgil RTC to help the training centre increase its capacity to deliver flexible skills training that is nationally accredited. This will provide the trainees with new pathways to employment and further study through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition.

The result of the plumbing skills training program will be improved plumbing and water facilities for the kindergarten, primary school, staff accommodation at the village. This valuable hands-on training demonstrates how training providers in Vanuatu are meeting the challenge of delivering accredited training in rural areas – taking the training to where it is in demand and meeting the needs of local businesses and communities. With an increase in the availability of plumbing services,  businesses in the busy tourism areas of Santo can look forward to engaging skilled operators to help maintain important infrastructure.

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