Over 80 local building and supply contractors attended the Australian funded Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program’s (SIIP) second Workforce Skills Series workshop, held in partnership with Solomon Water, designed to lift the quality and competitiveness of the local private sector.
Australia’s SBD1.65-billion infrastructure partnership with Solomon Islands is delivering the free professional development series to promote local content opportunities through better skills, knowledge, and expertise for local companies to create more local jobs and deliver quality results.
Opening the event, SIIP Interim Team Leader Peter Leahy said the Skills Series will improve the skills and capacity of the broader infrastructure sector.
The initial workshop, held late last year, focused on the preparation of tender submissions by local firms. The second session, held Tuesday this week, at the Heritage Park Hotel, was on contract administration with industry presentations from Adam Searancke, Solomon Water and Ricky Fuo’o, General Manager, Tropical Group Builders.
“Today’s workshop provides interested local contractors an opportunity to understand the different types of contracts, how contracts are made and managed, mistakes to avoid, and ways in which SIIP will encourage local content. These practical workshops also give local firms the chance to hear from SIIP, and SIIP to hear the experiences of local industry leaders,” said Mr Leahy.
“Whilst there can only be one winner of any tender process, industry strengthening and capacity development, including these skills series workshops, are crucial in bringing opportunities within the reach of local companies, local suppliers, and within local communities where infrastructure is being delivered, maintained, and operated. SIIP’s Skills Series workshops are directly related to our local content strategy which aims to maximise training and capacity building opportunities for local business through SIIP-supported projects,” Mr Leahy continued.
Solomon Water Project Manager Adam Searancke highlighted the importance of effective contract management, especially for complex work, as the means of providing certainty for all parties.
“It is important that before we try to administer a contract, we need to understand what it is. A contract provides certainty between both parties and understanding what actually is included in the contract and knowing respective roles and requirements is critical to managing it successfully.”
“Solomon Water is keen to encourage opportunities for local contractors, our Forward Works Program is available through the Solomon Water website. We strongly encourage local firms to bid for work especially in the provinces,” added Mr Searanke.
Delivering his remarks at the event, General Manager, Tropical Group Builders and Chair of SICCI, Ricky Fuo’o thanked SIIP for emphasizing local content.
“SIIP is the first development aid program to promote a local content approach. We look forward to what the program is offering us and that’s why it is important to share and make known challenges of local contractors. We are not able to build our capacity if we are not given the opportunity, and we look forward to working with SIIP”, said Mr Fu’oo.
SIIP will be holding regular workshops this year responding to industry requests. The next workshop is expected to be how to develop a GEDSI policy in March.