NATION

From Shoe Shine Boy To Westpac Bank Teller

A former shoe shine and wheel­barrow boy has made huge strides in life as he now enjoys work as a teller at the Westpac Bank’s Nabua Branch. Henry Waqavakatoga, 25,
24 Feb 2018 12:44
From Shoe Shine Boy To Westpac Bank Teller
Henry Waqavakatoga. Photo: Westpac

A former shoe shine and wheel­barrow boy has made huge strides in life as he now enjoys work as a teller at the Westpac Bank’s Nabua Branch.

Henry Waqavakatoga, 25, who hails from Namara, Kadavu with maternal links to Namuka-i-Lau, comes from a family of seven brothers.

He did not want to be a burden on his retired parents, so as a student in high school he took it upon himself to cater for expenses such as his lunch and bus fare by shining shoes and selling peach Chinese lollies.

After completing high school and becoming the father to a son, he con­tinued his education as a part time student at the University of the South Pacific.

It was an extremely challenging period be­cause he did not want to rely on his parents financially for the upbringing of his child.

He started looking for employment.

After numerous unsuccessful job applica­tions he decided to become a wheelbarrow boy.

“It was an emotional experience being a wheelbarrow boy,” Mr Waqavakatoga said.

“People who knew me ignored me and didn’t even bother to stop and greet.

“But that didn’t discourage me because I was doing all this for my son. Working hard to earn money the right way and it was this experience that motivated me to aim higher in life.”

In 2014, Henry secured work as a flight at­tendant for Fiji Link.

It was a whole new world for him to adapt to, especially the professionalism of the corporate world in the aviation and tourism industry.

It would also be his first time on an air­craft.

Mr Waqavakatoga said he met many peo­ple from all walks of life, including his work colleagues. He also travelled to new places.

“However; I always felt there was no place like home,” Mr Waqavakatoga said.

“As a flight attendant for two years, I was away most of the time from home, especial­ly weekends and holidays.

“So I looked for employment that would give me more time to spend with my family.”

In 2017 he applied for a position at Westpac Bank. He was appointed to work as a teller.

The role came with a lot of responsibility because it involved dealing with customers and their money so integrity was vital.

“The banking environment is also really fun because there is ongoing healthy compe­tition among colleagues in terms of targets and also who balances their cash first in the afternoon,” Mr Waqavakatoga said

“Every day is a new learning experience, be it at process, product or skills training. It is a great experience.”

He believed that his success is due to al­ways putting God first. Then family and everything will fall into place.

“We must also do everything with passion no matter how big or small,” he said.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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