The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the tourism industry in the Pacific, resulting in the termination or reduced hours for a large portion of tourism workers. In Fiji, over 70,000 tourism workers have been affected - individuals such as Joseph Snodgrass, a former bartender of an award-winning resort in Savusavu and Salote Matanibuka, a former receptionist of an idyllic resort in Pacific Harbor, outside of Suva.
Joseph, who is originally from Suva, had two options; to remain in Savusavu and assist with maintenance work at the resort, or to go on leave without pay until borders open and the resort returns to normal operations. He opted for the latter.
Upon returning to Suva, a family member sent Joseph the registration link for the Micro-Credentials online training delivered by the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC). He immediately signed up for the Communication Technologies for Business Success course that enables participants to communicate with colleagues clearly and effectively over diverse organizational structures and environments. This course equips participants with the ability to also explore the most popular digital communication technologies and software used by the industry today and how one can use these tools to help improve productivity and collaboration in any workplace.
“The course was amazing and eye-opening. I have been through a lot of customer service work and we normally touch base on certain requirements, but this course was just very detailed and straight to the point. It is simple and easy to understand,” said Joseph.
These Micro-Credentials courses have been designed to contribute to flexible online learning during COVID-19 and Joseph used this to his advantage for operating his own cake business.
“I would most definitely recommend these courses to my friends and family because it is free, user friendly and so simple to understand. Not only that, what you learn applies to what you are doing now or wish to pursue, and I can attest to that. It has further developed my knowledge on how to utilize communication technologies for the benefit of my business,” said Joseph.
These sentiments were also echoed by Salote Matanibuka who first heard of the micro-credential course through a family member as well. When she heard that her application was accepted for the micro-credential course – Digital Literacy Essentials – she was delighted. The course introduces modern digital technologies, software and popular social media platforms that are currently in use across many careers and industries. It focusses on assisting participants in increasing their level of digital literacy in today’s developing digital world and how to effectively apply it in their respective careers. After being put on leave without pay, undertaking this training was an excellent opportunity to upskill herself and improve her knowledge of modern digital technologies and media platforms.
“The course was very educational, and the concepts were easy to understand”, said Salote.
Like Joseph, the online nature of the training allowed Salote to complete the course at her own pace and in the learning environment of her choice. Whether it be in the middle of the night, the early morning or even with little breaks between studies, Salote emphasised how easily accessible and manageable the course was. With this flexibility, she completed the course in one day and immediately received her micro-credential qualification.
“I hope to apply what I’ve learned in my new current role now as part of the conference and events team for Studio 6 Apartment and would strongly recommend this course to anyone out there that is interested,” she says.
Such an initiative was made possible through a partnership between the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), funded by the Government of Japan, providing individuals like Joseph and Salote free Micro-Credential courses that serve as refreshers or an opportunity to upskill.
As an extension of this project, APTC has launched two additional micro-credential courses: COVID SAFE Work Training for Dining In and COVID SAFE Work Training for Beauty and Nails that have sparked great interests from Salote and Joseph with hopes to enroll into one of the additional courses.