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With 50% of Samoa’s population under the age of 20, and youth unemployment at almost 18%, both Don Bosco Technical Centre (DBTC) in Alafua and the Don Bosco Technical and Vocational College (DBTVC) in Salelologa, are providing education and training which is focused on teaching employable skills so that all students have the ability to develop a career.
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DBTC offers a vocational education comprising of a three year course. All first-year students experience a combination of trades including plumbing, motor mechanics, carpentry, and hospitality. In following years, students specialise in a trade offering an Accredited Certificate in their chosen field.
The school also promotes personal, moral and spiritual growth, leadership skills development and teamwork through cultural and sporting activities. In recent years the school has gained a growing reputation and enrolments have doubled. Unfortunately, not all students are able to complete their education due to lack of family financial support. Student scholarship assistance is always welcomed.
Upon graduation, many students secure employment promptly so they can help their families and develop their own careers. This is a significant achievement in a country with high unemployment. DBTVC is a High School which offers an integrated curriculum with academic and technical subjects designed to provide students with employment and human relations skills, as well as self-reliance.
Through the school’s work experience program, students meet potential employers and use skills they have learned. We are thankful for the continued support of Dominic College, Glenorchy for providing scholarships for poor students who otherwise would not have the opportunity of an education.
New Hospitality Facilities
The hospitality program has been warmly recieved; many recognise that the tourism industry provides a great pathway for the future.
With assistance from NCOBF Pty Ltd and St John Bosco Parish Engadine, DBTC is improving its facilities with purpose-built Hospitality and Cookery classrooms.
The practical facilities will ensure students have use of equipment that replicates a commercial kitchen and café. This will provide students with a better quality and more cohesive course.
Upon initial research and consultation with the community, it was highlighted that resorts in Samoa have difficulty acquiring suitable employees with the appropriate hospitality skills. Qualified local staff are preferred rather than hospitality staff from overseas; DBTC is attempting to fill this void.
When the facility is not utilised by the school it can be hired out in conjunction with their existing event space (the Fale – a traditional undercover area) to private functions and provide an income stream for the course and school at large to ensure its sustainability. The building will be ready for the commencement of the 2022 school year.
In 2022 we are hoping to renovate existing classrooms to offer the Accredited Hospitality Course at the DBTVC in Salelologa. This course will also offer students Resort and Hotel related job skills within the developing Tourism Industry. Currently we are seeking funds to update the facilities to meet the Accredited Course requirements.
Community Sewing Course at Don Bosco Technical College, Alafua
The new sewing course has already made deep impacts throughout the community.
With a donation in 2020 by the Australian High Commission Office in Samoa, 20 sewing machines were purchases as previously, students were sewing by hand. To fill a need expressed by the wider community, a 10-week evening course was offered consisting of 20 places. This has now progressed to 30 students with the 6th groups graduating in October 2021.
Mane Su’a, past pupil and current School Principal explained at a recent graduation ceremony, “the sewing course started late September 2020 and is an initiative that aims to improve the quality of life of vulnerable women and girls through learning new skills.” He went on to congratulate those involve in offering this opportunity and reminding everyone “it is never too late to learn.”
The course has given local women and men the skills to have the ability to earn an income for their families. We hope to be able to raise the funds to purchase a selection of industrial sewing machines so that the students can gain the necessary skills and knowledge to work in the textile industry.
Sr Claudia helps serve food at the Salesian Sisters’ Hostel in Henderson. (Salesian Province Office, Dili)
At the Don Bosco Technical Institute in Henderson, they continue to provide training in automotive, electrical, carpentry, machine fitting and life skills for more than 200 young men and women. Whilst at the Don Bosco Rural Training Centre in Tetere, local youth acquire training on current farming techniques to improve the production of food and livestock.
The Salesian Sisters’ Hostel in Henderson provides safe accommodation for young women, from economically challenged backgrounds, as they come to Honiara for university and other studies. Responding to a local ‘need’ the Home Economics Course continues to provide training for women from disadvantaged very little formal education.
(In the Solomon Islands only 20 per cent of female adults are literate.) Classes are held in basic literacy, numeracy, computing, dress making, cooking and health awareness. The women learn practical skills with textiles and sewing, home and small business management.
Sr Claudia Aragon gratefully explained “with the help of Australian donors this year we were able to replace broken sewing machines and provide food for struggling boarders.”
Unfortunately, given the current unrest in Honiara, Sr Claudia reports “the situation has become very scary and worrying. We have closed both the school and boarding house and sent the girls back to their villages. We hope that the overseas assistance will soon calm the situation in time for the planned graduation celebrations in December.”
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Salesian Missions Australia