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Tonga is embarking on an ambitious target of 70% renewable energy by 2025 and therefore needs a qualified and experienced workforce to pursue this target.
Two new national qualifications on sustainable energy have been developed for Tonga following a two-day validation meeting of the Industry Technical Advisory Committee. The National Certificate in Sustainable Energy (Biomass) level 3 and the National Certificate in Sustainable Energy (Hybrid-wind) level 3 was assessed by the Tonga National Qualification and Accreditation Board (TNQAB) in collaboration with the Pacific Community's (SPC) Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (PCREEE) and the Tonga Department of Energy.
The discussion included key industry stakeholders to ensure that all unit standards for both certificates are precise, attainable, flexible, and meet the skill requirements, business opportunities, and job prospects of Tonga's energy industry.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Executive Officer for TNQAB, Dr Opeti Pulotu emphasized the important roles of the validators in ensuring that these new sustainable energy qualifications meet the key principles. “Your works today and tomorrow are crucial to ensure the key principles of qualification are met including what the needs for this qualification, a clear outcome, flexibility and trust and accountability in order to prepare them for future work prospects or higher education.
The qualification validators include local experts and stakeholders from the Tonga energy sector such as the National Electrical Contractors Association for Tonga (NECAT), Tonga Power Ltd (TPL), Tonga Electricity Commission (TEC), Tonga National University (TNU), and Tonga Department of Energy.
The Tonga Institute of Science and Technology (TIST) of the Tonga National University is the first training institution in Tonga to have been granted TNQAB accreditation to deliver the Sustainable Energy national certificates and have completed training for the National Certificate in Sustainable Energy (NCSE) levels 1 and 2. The regional versions of the NCSE L1-L4 qualifications have also been registered by the Educational Quality Assessment Programme (EQAP) on the Pacific Register of Qualifications and Standards (PRQS).
Over 50 students are expected to enroll on the new level 3 national qualifications in SE this year. Mr Fatuimoana Pahulu of TIST, who was a member of the validators, says they are looking forward to delivering the SE qualifications.
Once these new national sustainable energy qualifications are validated and approved for registration on the Tonga Qualifications Framework (TQF), all technical institutions in Tonga can apply to TNQAB for accreditation to deliver the relevant training and award these qualifications.
Two new level 3 national qualifications in solar and the other in energy efficiency are in the pipeline to be validated. This collaboration between TNQAB, the PCREEE and the Tonga Department of Energy is expected to have a full diploma in sustainable energy by end of 2024.