Tuesday, August 14, 2007


THERE are many job opportunities in the tourism industry but students must stay in school and complete their education, says Mika Vuidavuwalu Mocelutu.
Mika, as he is known, is the maintenance supervisor at Treasure Island Resort, just off the Lautoka coast.
He says dropping out of school should be the last choice any student should consider.
Mika started with Treasure Island in 1978 as a teenager working initially as a dive shop attendant.
Today, he is one of the longest serving staff members with the popular tourist holiday destination that opened in 1972.
Mika, 46, is from Beqa Island, while his wife Losana is from Gau. They have three daughters, with the eldest married, the second only recently completing secondary education and the youngest a three-year-old.
For someone who only went up to Class Eight at Raviravi District School in Beqa, Mika said that had not deterred him from climbing up the employment ladder.
"After I failed my Class Eight exams I went back to the village to do farming but when the opportunity arose for a job here I grabbed it with both hands," he said.
"I do not regret doing it."
After a year as a dive shop attendant, Mika moved on to the maintenance department as a carpenter.
"Today (yesterday) marks my 29th year with the resort," he said.
"When I moved to maintenance, I started as a carpenter, then became an electrician and am now the supervisor.
"One thing I like about being in the tourism industry is that we get to meet people from backgrounds and cultures from all over the world.
"This is an interesting feature about being in the tourism industry. Although we are away from our families, these people become our other family.
"We are on the island for 20 days before we get to go home and visit our families and spend time with them."
Mika said he had been lucky his staff had been supportive in his role as maintenance supervisor.
"Although I did not complete my secondary school education, my only advice to the young people is that they should study hard and achieve the highest they can in education," he said.
"Young people should not get involved in drugs because it does not get you far in life."
Mr Mocelutu said many of the opportunities that were out there in the tourism sector or the well paid jobs expected university education or some other higher qualifications to that of high school leaving certificate.
He said children should dig their heels deep and set standards for themselves.
"Education is everything these days and children of today should not be too relaxed about going to school," he said.
"Back when we were in school if we failed our exams it was back to the village to work on the farms.
"But now even if they fail or they drop out of school the children or young people don't want to return to their villages to help out on the farms."
Mr Mocelutu said he never expected to reach supervisor level and that tourism was his window to the outside world.
"If I was not here I would be back in my village working on the plantation," he said,
"We can always go back home to villages and work on the plantation but most people, if given that option, don't want to go."

Adapted from Fijitimes Online