It’s not what we do, it’s the way we do it

For the past five years, Tonga Skills has been supporting Tongans to increase their skills in areas of the economy that are in demand and have the potential to increase their income and grow the economy.

During this time, Tonga Skills has been encouraging and piloting different skills delivery models to increase the effectiveness of our work and ensure the Program delivers value for money for the people of Tonga and Australia. We can now showcase the six skills delivery models that have helped thousands of Tongans to build their knowledge and skills with many going on to use these skills to start small businesses, find new jobs and be more productive at work.

The models for skills delivery are summarised below before being explained in more detail.

Diagram shows the six main models that Tonga Skills program developed and implemented to make skills training delivery easier for Tongans.

  1. Recognised modular and flexible short courses. The use of training courses and training provides recognised by the Tonga National Qualifications and Accreditation Board (TNQAB) helps ensure that high-quality courses are delivered. The breaking down of longer courses into smaller units enables courses to be delivered in more convenient blocks that allow more people to attend without greatly impacting upon existing work and care commitments.

Example: TNQAB-recognised community courses such as Wood Carving, Sewing Machine Maintenance and Basic Food Safety and Hygiene are delivered over five to ten days unlike more advanced qualifications that may take months and years to complete.

  1. Business development. Business coaching provides an invaluable one-on-one experience between business owners, staff and a qualified business coach. Coaching combined with skills training can fill skills gaps, build financial literacy and help businesses grow through improved planning and management practices.

Example: Tonga Skills supported coaching of thirteen tourism and hospitality businesses in ‘Eua.

  1. Direct Government linkages. Working with and through government ministries capitalises on the internal expertise of ministry staff who can facilitate low-cost training whilst skills programs such as Tonga Skills help with coordination and funding support to enable the ministries to achieve the shared objectives to build skills and create more opportunities for Tongans.

Example: Ministry of Agriculture Food and Forests trainers have helped Tonga Skills deliver training in various areas including seed saving, vanilla cultivation and chicken raising.

  1. Skills development partnerships with co-funding. Partnering with government ministries, development partners and civil society organisations increases the efficiency of delivery when these partners contribute funding and in-kind support. Reduced delivery costs means there are more funds available to support the training of more Tongans.

Example: Partnership between Tonga Skills, Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation (MORDI) Tonga Trust, Care Australia, Caritas and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in ‘Eua leveraged co-funding to train 95 clients on-the-job to reconstruct houses in Tongatapu and ‘Eua that were destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Gita.

  1. Online training using instructional videos. Online learning allows Tongan to learn new skills at anytime from anywhere.

Example: Developed in Tongan language, the Tonga Skills Online Learning portal features four courses guided by instructional videos.

  1. Remote skills delivery via videoconference. Blended learning including training via video conference and local face-to-face facilitation enables Tongans to learn from international experts without incurring the additional costs of their travel and accommodation. The model also prevents COVID-19 travel restrictions from getting in the way of building the skills of Tongans in fields where international expertise is required.

Example: Beekeeping training was delivered remotely by an international expert based in New Zealand using video conferencing software, smartphones and tablets, and with the support of a local beekeeper.