Mr. Sateki Tongi was one of the first participants in a series of Pearl Carving Training coordinated and funded by Tonga Skills across Tongatapu. Sateki was able to develop his carving skills to meet the strong domestic and tourist demand. He was inspired by the clear link of the training to inclusive economic growth opportunities, particularly for those with limited formal education. Sateki submitted a proposal to work together with Tonga Skills to deliver marketable skills to the young people of Fu’amotu to enhance their employability potentials and improve their livelihoods.
Twelve trainees enrolled, and the training took place outside Sateki’s house – demonstrating flexible delivery and proving that quality training can happen outside of formal training environments. Because of the abundant availability of wood in the area, Sateki believes that training outcomes can be sustained, ensuring skills are linked to production materials. Sateki also identified two participants with a disability who were interested in further developing their income generation potential. He believes that people with disability deserve the same opportunities in life as everyone else.
Some of the trainees already had some experience in graphic design and art. “It’s only a matter of transferring the designs from canvass to wood where the money you can earn is higher”
At the closing of the training, the Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, His Excellency Mr Andrew Ford, said the trainees were fortunate to have easy access to markets on their doorsteps, referring to Fu’amotu International Airport and the Scenic Hotel.
Tonga Skills will be continuing to work with Sateki – and other experts like him – to support him formalise his skills with recognised training qualifications.