Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

The Archdiocese of Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea seeks a qualified and experienced plumber and builder to mentor the Archdiocese’s Maintenance Team, thus enhancing job opportunities and improving housing, water management and infrastructure for the community.

The Location

Mt Hagen is Papua New Guinea’s third largest city, and is home to around 610,000 people.  The city has recently experienced rapid urban growth and continues to attract people from the surrounding rural area seeking employment and other opportunities. Typical of this growth is the various accompanying social issues and the challenges of maintaining infrastructure such as housing, water supply, energy and sanitation, which are essential for the community’s well being.

The Archdiocese’s provision of health, education and other services for the Mt Hagen community fills a need where government supply is inadequate or non-existent. Assisting the Archdiocese to maintain community infrastructure through the exchange of skills, which increases local employment opportunities, perfectly fits Palms Australia’s model of sustainable development.

Participants living in Mt Hagen should be prepared to work with limited resources. Caution should be exercised at night and participants in Papua New Guinea must be alert of their safety when walking alone or in a group with other foreigners.

Note: For most assignments, accommodation is provided by the partner organisation. This accommodation has been assessed and approved by Palms Australia as being secure and has adequate utilities.

The Challenge

With few opportunities for formal training in trades in Papua New Guinea, those working in the sector are often self-taught and learning on the job. This leaves tradespeople in the country with varied skills and knowledge of safe, effective, and sustainable practices.

Maintaining household and business sanitation is essential to preventing the spread of disease in the highlands. In 2018, Papua New Guinea experienced an outbreak of polio as a consequence of improper sanitation in a rural area. An awareness of the local resources available to build, maintain and use facilities will be critical to the successful training of apprentices who will be able to implement their skills and knowledge after the placement has ended.

About You

The Archdiocese of Mount Hagen has requested a suitably qualified and experienced plumber/builder. The successful candidate must demonstrate:

  • Experience and be licensed in plumbing, preferably with experience in building and supervising apprentices
  • Awareness of the challenges in remote communities
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Cross cultural competency and humility
  • Willingness to work in Mount Hagen for a minimum of 12 months, with limited resources and facilities.
  • Ability to live simply and on a local stipend

Prior experience in a remote community is not essential but will be an asset.

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to:

  • addressing infrastructure needs of the community alongside a professional maintenance team .
  • Increasing water supply and quality.
  • Raising community awareness of water management, sanitation and health.
  • Quality housing and other structures enabling community services.
  • Increasing employment opportunities for trained team members.
  • Securing income generation for families and community.
  • Assisting to provide an attractive work and training opportunity for unemployed youth of the province.

Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.