Published on 22nd March 2016
Touring the National Fisheries College (NFC) in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea, with VSA volunteer Arnold Hawkins, it’s obvious to see his impact there.
From the kitchen grease trap to the maintenance workshop rebuild, Arnold, volunteering as a building and maintenance adviser for the College, has planned, overseen and mentored the tradespeople who’ve done the work.
The College is the Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority’s (NFA) leading fisheries and marine resources training and education institution. The NFC provides core training in fishing and seafood handling, and they will soon be expanding into aquaculture and community fisheries. The College also has courses for women in fisheries, and observer training, to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the country’s fishery.
Its students, who come from Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, live onsite. The facilities, which include dorms alongside classrooms, had been severely rundown. Previously, the College relied on outside contractors, meaning maintenance fell behind and work was more expensive.
Arnold has worked to mentor a core maintenance team of seven, bringing building and maintenance in-house, in the newly built workshop. He has created a building and maintenance plan, leading to the construction of a new administration building and classroom block, and a review of the roofing on all 17 campus buildings.
His team now includes an experienced plumber, and Arnold has hired other experienced staff, who’ve started mentoring existing staff.
Jeff Kinch, Principal of the NFC, says:
“With Arnold’s oversight, many things are beginning to be rectified, a proper system to address maintenance requests is being implemented, and his recruitment of new staff has lowered our dependency on outside contractors. The maintenance team is now where they should be.”
VSA is now supporting the NFC with two new volunteers: financial adviser Bruce McPherson and commercial fishing trainer Robert Algar.