Plumbing skills provide financial security in Vava’u

The people of Vava’u island are known for their excellent farming skills and great produce. Most people are involved in agricultural or fishing-related jobs to provide for their families, but many are starting to look at other sectors in which they might earn a good living. “When I was introduced to Tonga Skills’ plumbing training, I was eager to participate as it is compatible with my current skills and knowledge and I thought of it as an opportunity to upgrade my plumbing skills,” said Semisi Mafi, a 30-year-old resident of Vava’u.
Semisi participated in a Basic Plumbing skills’ training in 2019 which has proved most useful in increasing his income.
“I couldn’t believe how substantial the amount of money was that I earned with the positive motivation and skills I learned from this training. Can you believe it? I was paid TOP$6,000 for doing a range of plumbing services for a newly-built residence for Neiafu’s Free Wesleyan Church in 2020,” Semisi explained.
Semisi is a full-time teacher at Mailefihi and Siu’ilikutapu College in Vava’u, having taught Industrial Arts to Forms Four, Five and Six for four years now. Prior to Semisi’s current employment and his participation in Tonga Skills’ training, he went abroad on study courses funded by the Australia Pacific Training Coalition. These courses included Certificate III in Welding and Fabrications as well as Fitting and Machinery.
“My participation in Tonga Skills’ plumbing training was a major upgrade of my skills which boosted my earning and resulted in extra significant income that helped me and my family in many ways. My income was not doubled, it was tripled, and I was slightly shocked at how much money a plumber can make,” said Semisi.
He not only used these skills for extra employment and income, but also taught them to his students in Mailefihi and Siu’ilikutapu College after consulting with the Principal to allow him to expand the curriculum he was teaching his students.
“Other than using these skills for financial purposes, it also helps me and my family at home considering how costly it is to pay for a plumber to fix any plumbing fault at home. I also help the people in my community, families and friends to cater for their plumbing needs sometimes for free and sometimes for a small cash amount as a token of their appreciation,” Semisi explained.
Semisi is now thinking about how he can obtain a registered business license in plumbing as he wants to continue doing this work that he both enjoys and reaps the financial benefits from This is want he wants to focus on in the future.
Semisi described how these skills have also contributed to his family overcome the financial hurdles they faced during the economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tonga Skills is an initiative of the Australian Government that is working collaboratively with Tonga Ministry of Education and Training and the Tonga National Qualification and Accreditation Board to deliver skills trainings out to the community and the outer island to ensure inclusive economic growth in Tonga.

Mr Semisi Mafi, a full-time teacher at Mailefihi and Siu’ilikutapu College, found a passion for plumbing after acquiring the skills from a training facilitated by
Tonga Skills on Vava’u island.