The Vatukoula Gold Mines Ltd (VGML), was introduced by the British Colonial Administration in 1934 and Emperor Gold Mines established operations in 1935. The Vatukoula Gold Mines Ltd (VGML), established in 1935, is a mining company which has been operating for over 86 years. It has largely sourced its newly skilled recruits through the apprenticeship programmes at the Derrick Technical College which later became Fiji Institute of Technology, and currently the Fiji National University.
VGML has a training department which always further trains the new skills apprentice graduates by upskilling them with the critical much-needed specialised mining skills that the graduates do not necessarily obtain in their apprenticeship programmes. The training department with experience mining trainers (as shown above), training facilities and other resources are of the strong view that they are capable of appropriately educating and training their new skills recruits with all necessary technical skills required and able to do so more economically as the duplication will be eliminated.
VGML is working with the HEC and envisages in upgrading its training department to a registered Higher Education Institution so that it can start enrolling students from high schools as apprentices while upskilling those already working for VGML and all those interested in upskilling and reskilling themselves with mining trades and skills. The HEC will assist the VGML training institution in developing high-quality and relevant qualifications which can be accredited and registered on the Fiji National Qualifications Framework.
The Director of the Higher Education Commission, Dr. Rohit Kishore, said that this is one of the intended outcomes of the Inaugural Higher Education Forum 2022 which focused on making higher education more industry–based and even more relevant. He added that an example of the HEC is already on its way to achieving its transformation objectives.
Dr Kishore met with the training and management staff of VGML in Vatukoula for advisory purposes and to define strategies for working towards the vision and mission of establishing the Vatukoula Goldmine Technical Institution (VGTI). Dr Kishore explained as the new VGTI develops and matures, it will be beneficial in providing mining qualifications not only for VGML, but also to the other mining companies in Fiji, the region and overseas.
VGTI will be an industry-based institution that will offer the mining sector skills-related technical education and training and contribute towards the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and the Apprenticeship Scheme that the government is keenly working on restructuring so that TVET qualifications are industry-based and address the current and new technical skills required by fast-changing industries.
Dr Kishore further added that training the workforce with specific skill sets will also increase labour marketability in this sector within the region, especially for the Pacific Labour Scheme platform.
The Higher Education Commission will be working closely with the industry and Higher Education Institutions in developing standards for qualifications required by the respective sectors.