Developing Skilled Youth: Samoa

Developing Skilled Youth: Samoa

By Helen Colla

In January 2018, Helen Colla began her Palms placement as Technical Program Accreditation Officer, sharing her auditing and compliance management skills with Don Bosco College and Vocational Technical Centre – Savai’i, Samoa. Helen extended her placement for another year in order to be involved in the delivery stage of the program.

World Youth Skills Day is celebrated internationally on July 15th. The importance of developing skilled youth is at the core of this year’s message. Why is World Youth Skills Day important? The United Nations states that “Rising youth unemployment is one of the most significant problems facing economies and societies in today’s world, for developed and developing countries alike… Designated by the General assembly in 2014, the World Youth Skills Day is an opportunity for young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, and public and private sector stakeholders to acknowledge and celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.”

Below Helen acknowledges and celebrates the students and staff at Don Bosco College and Vocational Technical Centre in Samoa.

It is not just important for the youth of Samoa to gain skills and knowledge in a chosen field, but also to have nationally recognised certification of these skills and knowledge. So many Samoans want to travel to NZ or Australia to work and better their lives.

Two such young men have demonstrated this desire. Kasipale and Taualii finished school a few years ago and got jobs. But they wanted to get better jobs with more secure futures for themselves and their families. So, as mature aged students, Kasipale enrolled into Certificate I Trades Foundation Skills and Taualii enrolled into Certificate I in Hospitality at Don Bosco, Salelologa.

Foundation Carpentry Skills

They are both keen, dedicated students because they understand the importance of the Certificate they are working towards. They also provide encouragement and enthusiasm to the other students in their classes because they have had experience out in the working world. And they are not the only two mature aged students enrolled. There are a few more in each program. Don Bosco is so fortunate to have students like these in the first delivery of the 2 accredited programs. Returning to school is always a challenge and COVID has added to these challenges. But it has not deterred Kasipale, Taualii or the other students from achieving their goal of graduating with a nationally recognised Certificate I qualification by the end of 2020.

The teaching staff  are also working hard to make this happen. They too are developing skills and knowledge in the area of Vocational Education and Training (VET), going back to school to attain a Certificate in Adult Teaching. Their new skills and knowledge are also nationally recognised.

Foundational Automotive Skills

Don Bosco is one of the first providers in Samoa to deliver nationally accredited training and deliberately chose certificate programs that offer the citizens of Savai’i practical skills that are much needed here on the island. These programs offer the citizens of Savai’i an opportunity to improve their lives without having to move to the main island or travel overseas, which many Samoans cannot afford to do.

Don Bosco, Salelologa is a dual provider. It is a Secondary School College as well as a Vocational Technical Centre. The validity and importance of vocational training is gaining momentum within the whole school. This is so important for the future of VET in Samoa. Samoans are starting to understand that a trade is just as important a career choice as being a doctor or a nurse. These skills and knowledge are valuable and can provide financial security. Don Bosco has applied to SQA for approval to deliver a Certificate II Construction Trades program to encourage further VET studies and provide more opportunities for the citizens of Savai’i.

Don Bosco has 34 students enrolled into the 2 accredited programs who could end 2020 with a Certificate I qualification. What a great success for Don Bosco in their first year of delivering accredited training. This is just the beginning. The delivery of accredited VET courses will increase across Samoa as the graduates demonstrate their newly acquired skills and knowledge and employers recognise the significance of the Certificate.

You can support the development of Youth Skills in Vocational training programs at Don Bosco College and Vocational Technical Centre by giving a recurring or one-off donation to the project here.