SUNBIZ

From Sawana To Aust- Ofa A Happy Man

Mr Ofa will be among 184 Fijians, who will leave the country on January 6, next year, as part of the Fijian and Australian government Pacific Labour Scheme programme.
25 Dec 2020 11:12
From Sawana To Aust- Ofa A Happy Man
From left to right: HEADING FOR AUSTRALIA... 184 Fijians will leave in January for a three-year work term under the Fijian and Australian Government Pacific Labour Scheme programme. Photo: Ronald Kumar and Sereki Ofa (right).

Sereki Ofa, 41, never dreamt that an opportunity to work in Australia would reach his doorstep in Sawana Village, Vanuabalavu, Lau.

When the opportunity opened for the father of three, he grabbed it with both hands.

Mr Ofa will be among 184 Fijians, who will leave the country on January 6, next year, as part of the Fijian and Australian government Pacific Labour Scheme programme.

“I heard about the scheme from a relative, who came to the island a year ago and I had filled my forms and gathered the necessary details that was required of me straight away,” Mr Ofa said.

“Just a few months later, I was surprised that I was told to come over to Suva to attend the pre-departure orientation that was needed to be done before we leave the country.

“I arranged everything from the village and I left the island a happy man.”

Sereki Ofa.

Sereki Ofa.

His children are educated in Suva and looked after by their mother, while he remains on the island to look after his elderly parents.

“The main reason I wanted to go was because of my children.

“Two are in high school while one is still in primary.

“I need to support them and their future.

“I have never been overseas before and I am thankful that we have been well briefed.

“We have been trained on how to save and use our money wisely, what to do and what not to do and what to expect in the big city life.”

Mr Ofa acknowledged the Fijian Government for considering the men and women on the islands in the programme.

Macawa sets aspirations right

Another recipient Tabu Macawa, from Salia Village, Nayau, in Lau, says his aspirations for the three-year term in Australia was set.

“Before I left the island month, I sat down with my wife, and three children and we set the plans that I hope to see come to fruition when I come back after three years,” Mr Macawa said.

“I am grateful for the never ending support from my wife who has been the backbone of this big decision that I have made to go overseas to work and support my family.

“All my life I have been living and working for my village back in Lau and this opportunity was one not to be missed.”

He is focused on expanding his sandalwood project back in the village and has set that as a priority, while working in Australia.

Mr Ofa and Mr Macawa will leave the country on January 6, 2021.

184 to go

Close to 200 Fijians will travel to Australia on the first week of 2021 to take up seasonalwork in the meat industry.

Their work contracts span consecutive years.

Minister for Employment, Parveen Bala, made the announcement at Kshatriya Hall, Suva.

The announcement followed the end of a four day pre-departure orientation programme by the Ministry of Employment.

“You are not only representing your family, but all Fijians,” Mr Bala said.

“You are the nation’s ambassadors for these Pacific Labour Scheme.”

He said their performance was the key to opening more opportunities for Fijians in future.

HEADING FOR AUSTRALIA... 184 Fijians will leave in January for a three-year work term under the Fijian and Australian Government Pacific Labour Scheme programme. Photo: Ronald Kumar

HEADING FOR AUSTRALIA… 184 Fijians will leave in January for a three-year work term under the Fijian and Australian Government Pacific Labour Scheme programme. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Attitude

“Overall attitude is important, and all Fijian workers must maintain discipline,” he said.

Mr Bala told workers they must demonstrate 100 per cent attendance.

“You need to refrain from drinking alcohol and kava, as this can affect your work performance and lead to behaviours such as fights and harrassment,” he said.

Mr Bala said the use of drugs would lead to the termination of contract for the workers.

“This is an opportunity for the benefit of your families and for you to perform to the best of your abilities,” he said.

“If any of you face any issue, you need to inform the National Employment centre.”

Workers will need to comply with the 14 days quarantine procedures upon arrival in Australia.

“You have an important role for the engagement of other potential Fijian workers,” Mr Bala said.

He urged the workers to take the advice that was given to them during the four day pre-departure orientation programme.

Financial respite

Meanwhile, 25-year-old, Maika Vasu, of Nadogo village in Labasa, said the Pacific Labour Scheme provided him an opening for financial assistance to his family.

The workers will depart forAustralia on January 6, 2021.

Feedback: inoke.rabone@fijisun.com.fj


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