These last three weeks have been hectic for me. I’ve travelled to the Highlands and New Guinea Islands regions as part of the TVETSSP (technical and vocational education scholarship) interview panel team to screen shortlisted applicants for Certificate I and II to TAFE Queensland.

The scholarship is a project funded by the national government in an effort to up-skill and improve the level of tradesmen in the country. It came about a survey was conducted on the labor market which found a deficiency in the skilled local labor in country.

This has resulted in companies and organizations continually employing overseas labor.

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A welcoming sight at the resort bungalow.

So we spent a couple of days in Beautiful Kavieng. We stayed at the Kavieng Village Resort (KVR) and interviewed the applicants there. Although I loved the scenery and breathe of fresh air, I believe our logistics personnel should have organized for a stay closer to town – a central location easily accessible by everyone.

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My team to Kavieng; Gideon, Hancy and our team leader Stella-Marie at KVR’s reception.

KVR is about 15 – 20 minute drive from Kavieng town and is an ideal spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban living. It has a total of ten bungalows that come self-contained with a gas stove, fridge, running water and even basic cooking utensils and cutlery.

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The bungalows have running water, a gas stove, bar fridge, cooking utensils and cutlery.

At nights, it is quiet and the only noise you hear is the soothing sound of the ocean waves breaking onto the reefs.

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The deck gives a beautiful view of the sunset and ocean.

Then we travelled to Kokopo and interviewed a number of shortlisted candidates. We stay at the department’s favourite spot, Kokopo Beach Bungalows. This was a good choice considering it was situated in the town. I have had the privilege of staying here a few time before, one of which I posted a couple of years ago.

After three days of interviews there, we returned to base and prepared for the next trip, to Kol Peles Goroka.

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The food, especially the fruits, is excellent.

In Goroka, we stayed and conducted interviews at the Bird of Paradise Hotel in town. It was ideally located for what we were there to do. However, I have a bone of contention to pick with the management regarding their facilities.

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This TV needs to be replaced. It also doesn’t have a remote control.

The service was excellent but I can’t say the same for the facilities. My room had an old tube (television set) that did not have a remote control and the air vent above the shower looked like it had not been cleaned in the last five years (maybe ten). Even the towels provided looked they had been reused for the last decade or so.

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This air vent looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in years.

This week, the final week, we are conducting the interviews at Jubilee College in Gerehu suburb (opposite Rainbow service station, beside Port Moresby National High School) and it is probably the most demanding because of the sheer number of applicants here.

There are over 700 applicants shortlisted and more than half are in Port Moresby. Unfortunately, only 200 will make it through, the rest will either wait for next year or find other alternatives.

As the interviews draw closer to the end, I’m beginning to have that deep feeling of despair – that so many will not be given the opportunity.

Almost everyone who has come to the interviews should be commended for making an effort. Unfortunately, there are so many factors that need to be considered when deciding who goes and who doesn’t and it doesn’t always mean the most deserving go.

If I had the opportunity, I would probably sponsor every applicant who came and showed genuine interest. Unfortunately, not everyone shortlisted truly deserves a scholarship.

To those who came to the interviews, I wish you all the best.

To those who will be fortunate to be accepted, I wish you the best as well and pray you don’t take this opportunity for granted.

And to those who were unfortunate, this is not the end, life is full of mystery, and tomorrow could bring something better and brighter

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