Five SINU students, sponsored by the Community Benefit Sharing Project (CBSP), are currently completing on the job training with two high profile Projects in Honiara. In a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the organisations, students will be gaining valuable practical experience over the next 6 months as a part of the course program to become qualified Electricians and Plumbers.
The partnership which commenced in 2021, has allowed 14 students from the Tina River catchment communities gain new skills and training in a trade of their choice through the Community Benefit Sharing Project (CBSP). Students were identified and selected after attending the CBSP’s Pre-Employment Training (PET) which continues to be made available to eligible members of the Tina communities. PET training and the SINU initiative are in place to up-skill, equip and prepare locals for employment opportunities during the Project’s building and operational phases.
For their practical component, two electrical students are currently working with Solomon Power’s 11KV extension powerline Project from Black Post to several Tina communities. They are assisting with the wiring of residences to allow for access to electricity.
Morris Roni, a father of two children from Pao in the Belaha community of Central Guadalcanal, is one of the students in the SINU program. He has been amazed at how much he has learnt while working with Solomon Power, commenting that the entire experience has been an eye-opener. “I’m quite excited. Becoming an Electrician is my dream job and it’s thrilling to have that dream come true thanks to the CBSP and Tina Project,” he said.
Mr Roni is now doing extra wiring work for people in the Tina communities to further hone his skills and encourages future students to take advantage of the opportunity if they are fortunate enough to receive the same CBSP sponsorship.
Plumbing students are also sharpening their new skills on practical placement with Kitano Construction Corporation who are engaged to upgrade Honiara International Airport. Their work includes the installation of portable and non-portable pumps for existing airport terminal buildings, installation of water pumps to supply water to the buildings and pipe fittings for portable and non-portable pumps. They are also learning how to pressure test portable and non-portable pumps for any leaks, repair drainage pipes for air conditioning indoor units, install lavatory and water closet systems, tanks and pressure pumps.
Hudson Kaumala from Sungina village in Malatoha is one of the 3 men working with Kitano Construction and is excited to be learning on the job. “I am looking forward to hopefully working with the Project after I finish my studies. Without this opportunity, I don’t know how I will be able to pay for my tuition to continue my education without the assistance,” he said.
CBSP’s Coordinator Francis Kapini says opportunities such as the SINU training helps empower young people in the Project’s catchment communities to excel in life and paves a way forward to enhance capacity building in the area.
“I am very pleased for the students who are now doing their practical work with high profile Projects in the country, like the Solomon Power 11KV Network extension and the Kitano Construction Corporation,” Mr Kapini said. “It gives them real life experience and the opportunity to learn from the best.”
The students are expected to complete their practical work in the field this June and resume classes for their final modules before graduating in 2023. A second intake of sponsored students are also expected to commence their courses at SINU next month.
During the development of the Project, the Community Benefit Sharing Project will continue to enhance community capacity building through selected training and employment possibilities will continue to have a positive impact on the people of Tina in the future.