Photo: Orientation for TVET professionals on Resilience Qualifications held in Nadi in October this year.
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Bridging the Education Gap with Resilience Qualifications
There is a growing need for resilient professionals in the Pacific to tackle pressing challenges of climate change. This need spans across all levels of our communities, from regional and national policymakers right down to local village leaders who are dealing with the impacts of climate change every day.
To help address this gap, a new benchmark for Resilience education was established in 2022. The regionally accredited Diploma in Resilience (Levels 5 and 6) and the Certificates in Resilience (Levels 1 to 4) recently were reviewed by the Pacific Community (SPC), through the Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) project. With these qualifications established, the Pacific’s formal vocational education sector will be able to help expand the national and regional capacity in resilience.
The qualifications were developed by SPC’s Geoscience, Energy and Maritime (GEM) division through PACRES, with expertise and facilitation by Skills Consulting Group, a renowned New Zealand based consulting company that deals with vocational education. The developed qualifications were then regionally accredited by SPC’s Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP). The content fits well in the resilience space as the curriculum aligns with the core needs of a community from forestry, agriculture, water resources, coastal management, fisheries, and tourism, and provides the graduates with practical approaches to solutions.
PACRES TVET Coordinator, Ms. Melinda Advincula- Mathers highlighted that the qualifications will provide opportunities for youths who are the future of the region, and they are the ones who will ensure a more resilient Pacific. “Our partnerships and collaboration to support growth in resilience education recognises Pacific solutions for Pacific people to spur professionals in climate resilience,” she said.
“The regionally endorsed qualifications aims to open new doors for current resilience professionals to advance in their fields and also looks to encourage non-professional volunteers and workers to pursue a career in the region’s resilience sector,” added Ms Mathers.
The most significant change for the Certificate level of qualification was in its structure What was previously four separate qualifications which existed in Levels 1,2,3 and 4, now appear on the Pacific Register of Qualifications and Standards: as the Regional Certificate at Level 2 and the Regional Certificate in Resilience Level 4.
The review in the certificate saw the removal of certain strands at levels 3 and 4 which would be more fitting for specialised areas in vulnerable sectors such as agriculture and fisheries, to be added to level 5 of the resilience qualification. In addition to this, new content was created following the review. For both qualifications, there was more focus on traditional knowledge and inclusion in communities.
USP is currently developing course books and training material to offer Level 4 of the Resilience qualifications at its institution. The qualification has undergone the endorsement process by the USP senate, and this should result in this being offered at the institution by 2023.
PACRES conducted workshops and orientations with education and resilience professionals in Fiji to give them a better understanding of the qualifications available to be offered at different institutions.
During the Orientation for TVET Professionals and Institutions on Resilience Qualifications held in Nadi in October this year, Assistant Roko for Ba and Tavua, Ms Kalesi Qiolevu shared how the articulated qualifications would be a grand opportunity for the youths in her province of service.
“In my role, I look after six districts in the different villages in Ba and Tavua. From our village profile assessment, I have gathered that there are a lot of youths that stay home after completing secondary education,” she said.
“Most of these youths have been limited to fishing and sugarcane harvest. After learning about the articulated qualifications, I see it as an opportunity for our youths to take up these Certificate courses, not only to secure employment, but to give back to their communities.
“Our youths help us most during disasters, in terms of preparation and rehabilitation. This is another way they can learn and understand the practicality of Resilience and disaster-risk reduction,” added Ms Qiolevu.
The development and inclusion of two new diplomas in Resilience Level 5 and 6, is another significant product of the work carried out by SPC through the PACRES project.
The Level 5 and 6 Diplomas are regionally endorsed qualifications that aim to open new doors for current resilience professionals to advance in their fields and it also looks to encourage non-professional volunteers and workers to pursue a career in the region’s resilience sector. At a high level, the qualification introduces trainees to a variety of other resilience concepts including climate finance sources, national adaptation plans, and monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
With the successful development and regional accreditation of the Diploma in Resilience Levels 5 and 6, SPC takes pride in the roll out of these qualifications.
By Alisi Vucago-Waibuta, PACRES Project, SPC