23 April 2021 0 SPC Director-General's Opening Remarks at MOU Signing Ceremony Dr Stuart Minchin, SPC Director-GeneralTHANK you very much and warm greetings to everyone joining in person in Fiji or online. I'd like to acknowledge Dr Mitchell and our distinguished guests, including the ministers, ONOC officials, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for the opportunity to address you today. I would love to be with you in person, but unfortunately, we're in lockdown here in Noumea and I am unable to travel at this point in time. So I thought I would share just a few short observations and thoughts. So the Pacific sports education sector already benefits from having lots of good quality training and short courses available and they are provided through a range of regional organisations, which can contribute to a sports professionals skills. The accumulation of this knowledge across a sports professional ’s career though often does not get recognised because they often do not add up to a more formal educational qualification. And this can be addressed through the development of formal micro-qualifications and SPC is active in progressing this trend within the Pacific region, not just in sports, but in other domains of education as well. Micro-qualifications allow people to undertake short-course style training but have the accumulation of skills recognised formally as a contribution towards a formal qualification. This can provide a really flexible way of lifelong learning, in a way that can fit around your other work or home responsibilities and allow people to be recognised for the accumulation of these valuable skills over time. Now we in the Pacific love our sports and many follow their passions into roles as professional sportspeople, sports administrators, coaches, referees, and other critical sports leadership roles. This is actually a subject that's quite close to me personally as during the course of my life to date I've become a qualified and trained men’s gymnastics judge, a teams yacht racing umpire, and I have also developed other professional qualifications in sailing. While my professional career has ultimately taken a different direction, as you heard in my introduction, I do have a soft spot for sports qualifications and the things that it can bring to enrich your life. So we're here today to sign a historic agreement between SPC and the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC). This agreement will allow for the development of formal recognition of a number of sporting short courses as micro-qualifications, that add up to a higher qualification over time. We're going to develop 13 short courses and one long-term training programme under this agreement and it's going to be a really, really exciting programme of work. This will give the opportunity for those engaging in supporting sport in our region to become qualified over time through the accumulation of these micro qualifications. It will encourage recognition for these qualifications between countries and between sports to allow for the growth of accredited sports professionals and their careers in our region; more holistically and in a recognised way across the entire region. So I really welcome this partnership between the Oceania National Olympic Committees and SPC, and very much look forward to seeing Pacific sports professionals benefiting from this effort. Thank you very much.