Papua New Guinea will continue to import 95 per cent of its technical skills workforce from overseas, says Department of Works’ director of human resources Michael Sula.
He said this was because of 25 years’ absence in training and testing local apprentice graduates in trade pre-employment technical training (PETT) courses to maintain required strength.
There is an urgent need for certified tradesmen and women in the country.
Trade testing and training facilities, including supervisors in various technical skills to assess and recommend graduates that come through apprenticeship programmes, was outmoded in 1993.
Sula told The National that due to influx of investors, the country required a skilled workforce including mechanics, heavy equipment fitters, electricians, fabricators and welders, among others.
“We need more local skilled people in extractive and manufacturing industries” he said.
The DoW, with approval from the National Apprenticeship Trade Testing Board resurrected the National Rebuild Centre (NRC) in Lae in 2016 and has so far graduated 48 skilled people.
The NRC this year graduated eight heavy equipment fitter apprentices in block course 1 after eight weeks.
They were from HBS Lae, Hidden Valley and Simberi, Hornibrooks and Mainland Holdings Ltd.
The apprenticeship trade training is a four-year programme involving internal and external activities.
Certified assessors appraise the apprentices before certifying them as tradesmen and women.
Sula said when the Government made redundant the plant and transport branch (PTB) in 1993, the apprenticeship training programme was also shelved until the National Apprenticeship Trade Testing Board resurrected it in 2008 with first graduates in 2016.
“However, we still needed to improve the facilities and training equipment to ensure additional courses apart from current programmes in heavy equipment fitting, motor mechanics, auto electrical, panel beating and spray painting,” he said.