Hands-on experience develops students’ interests and skills

By Seniorl Anzu

The engagement of trainees and students in industries has been an on-going approach towards learning and development in PNG’s training and education system. This industrial training is a collaboration targeted at developing PNG’s human resources by giving them exposure to field work and on-the-job training. The experience also gives trainees, mostly youths, opportunities not only to relate their learning and make connections between classroom theory and the real world but also to develop links with potential employers.

Students from the Pacific Adventist University having hands-on in rice sowing at the National Agricultural Research Institute's rice fields at Bubia near Lae, Morobe province

PNG’s agricultural and science faculties and institutions have done so on a yearly basis. These include the University of Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby), University of Technology (Lae), University of Natural Resources and Environment (Vudal), University of Goroka (Goroka) and the Pacific Adventist University (Port Moresby); and various technical and vocational colleges/schools throughout PNG.

Major industry players in both public and private sectors have facilitated this initiative through their established programs and projects. Among the industry actors are the New Britain Palm Oil Limited, Ramu Agri-Industries, National Agricultural Research Institute, Fresh Produce Development Agency, Coffee Industry Corporation Limited and the Alele Fresh Produce Limited.

While some students are engaged for job-embedded learning, others are assigned with special projects which form part of their assessment. In some cases, schools arrange for field excursions or participation in important occasions.

Some organisations also have Cadetship Schemes and Graduate Development Programs in which fresh graduates with basic qualifications are recruited and put through internal training schedules for specific competency and skills development. This is done for a certain period of time, ranging from six months to two years, after which they are integrated into the organisations.

Hands-on experience “helps students to enter a community of practice where they may obtain professional skills and tacit knowledge” and develops their interests and skills.

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