22 Jun 2009

PNG hopeful new scheme for technical training in Australia will start next year

3:47 pm on 22 June 2009

Papua New Guinea's government says it hopes to start sending students to Australia for technical training by the middle of next year.

The governments of both countries agreed on the training scheme at the Australia/PNG ministerial forum earlier this month in Brisbane.

PNG's National Planning and District Development Minister says several new vocational colleges are to be built in PNG and the Port Moresby facility upgraded.

But Paul Tiensten says a shortage of skilled tradespeople is creating a serious problem for the country and sending students to Australia is an urgent short term measure.

"Right now we don't have the facilities to cater for the type of skills and the trades that are required. Now you would know that we are now commercialising our gas, the LNG project is looking good for us and the demands that it will place on the workforce domestically, it's going to be huge and we've got to work on a structure, a mechanism, very quickly so that we can get somehow two thousand Papua New Guineans starting next year"

Paul Tiensten says when the programme does begin bonding arrangements will have to be in place to ensure that the students return to PNG.