Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has reiterated the importance of technical and vocational training in the country.
He said this today (January 25 2022) when announcing higher and technical education reform initiatives supporting the Papua LNG Project and other major upcoming developments in the petroleum and mining sectors.
These are: • Generational reforms in quality assurance, regulation and compliance; • Working closely with our development partners; • A National Skills Development Plan (NSDP) which was launched last Friday (January 21 2022); • National Labour Market Survey (NLMS); • Stronger engagement with business and industry; and • Industry-funded Higher Education Institution (HEI) places for eligible Grade 12 school leavers.
“Technical and vocational training is an integral part of the higher education sector,” PM Marape said.
“Technical and vocational training is also critically important in skills development and in fostering science, technology and innovation, driving the application, adaptation and use of new technologies.
“A skilled workforce with the capacity to replace current large numbers of migrant workers at the lower end of the PNG National Qualification Framework (NQF) has significant sustainable benefits to the PNG economy and community.”
PM Marape said the Government’s lead agency for higher and technical education, Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology (DHERST), now had the regulatory power and oversight to provide a positive regulatory framework that reduced barriers and changed the incentives for both the private sector and training providers.
“This is very timely as Government and Industry Partners collaborate on the successful rollout and implementation of the Papua LNG Project and related upscaling of other commercial projects across other industry sectors,” he said.
“Government regulation of the skills sector has traditionally focused on supply side technical training with a serious disconnect between the training undertaken and its relevance to industry.
“Thankfully, that ‘disconnect’ and out-dated regulatory approach is of the past.
“The recent transfer of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to DHERST marks a significant turning point in the operation and performance management of these institutions as part of the Higher and Technical Education reforms.
“DHERST has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Total Energies Ltd, one of the world’s largest Energy and Petroleum companies, now pivoting strongly to renewable technologies.
“DHERST and Total Energies are collaborating to undertake joint activities and leverage their comparative advantage to develop solutions which create positive economic and social value for the people of Papua New Guinea.
“To develop and upskill Papua New Guineans, Total Energies are collaborating with DHERST on human resource initiatives that shape both the quality of education received and the capacity of the PNG’s workforce; as well as supporting Total Energies’ ability to access such skilled workers to support the human resource needs of the Papua LNG Project.
“Working across partner networks, there are mutual benefits for improving the productivity and competitiveness of PNG’s present workforce in ways that deliver economic and social value.
“It is Government’s hope that other large corporate and multinational companies, as well as SMEs, will follow Total Energies’ lead in partnering with DHERST across a range of education and research initiatives.”