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Pacific Labour Mobility news

Case study: Tuilevuka Teaoti

Supporting family and local business

Tuilevuka Teaoti, known as Elia to his friends, is working in Australia to support his four children and extended family.

Elia is putting into practice the skills and techniques that he learnt at the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) in Samoa. Prior to joining the Pacific Labour Scheme, Elia had work experience but much of what he had learnt at APTC remained theory with many of the ingredients and supplies unavailable in the Pacific. Working on Hayman Island Ilea has been able to consolidate his training and skills whilst learning the Australian industry standard on the job.

Elia has a reputation in the kitchen of being able to handle anything that comes his way. His management and kitchen skills have been recognised by his colleagues and Head Chef who describe Elia as playing an integral role in the busy commercial kitchen.

Tuilevuka Teaoti

"If I was to leave here… I would ask all of the staff that I currently have if they would be interested in coming with me, because I have had nothing but a positive experience." David Shay, Head Chef, Mulpha Australia

The Pacific Labour Scheme has afforded Elia the opportunity to save his wages and send money home. He is the primary income earner in his family, and his savings have allowed his wife to reopen their family business. The family run a corner store in a remote village that, on the weekends, comes alive as a popular picnic location. Without the corner store, the community had to travel long distances for basic supplies. Elia's remittances are benefitting his whole community and he is looking forward to his next visit home for his children's birthdays in August.

To secure the best future for his children, Elia sends money home for their education and is planning to send them to the best schools possible. But his next step is to further his own formal education having enrolled in a Certificate IV in Commercial Cookery.

Tuilevuka Teaoti, Kitchen Steward, Mulpha Australia Limited and David Shay, Head Chef, Mulpha Australia Limited. Photo: DFAT


Case study: Retati Tekaai


'Every time you achieve your dream, you don't stop.'

Pacific Islander Retati is working in Australia to achieve her dreams in her home country of Kiribati.

Retati is the eldest of six children. As the main source of income for her family, she is responsible for caring for her parents and ensuring her younger siblings are able to access education.

To achieve this she has sought out opportunities to improve her own education and skills. Retati studied hospitality at the Australia-Pacific Technical College in Fiji, and has continued to develop her skills by participating in the Australian Government's Pacific labour mobility program.

Through the program, Retati is working on Hayman Island to restore the resort after it was devastated by Cyclone Debbie in 2017.

Woman standing in the sunshine and smiling
Retati Tekaai.

In the short time that she has been on the island, her employers have recognised her skills and potential, promoting her to front-of-house in the workers' accommodation. Retati is also using her enthusiasm to encourage other Pacific workers on the island to be more confident in their roles.

Retati is most proud of the impact her work in Australia is having on her family and community back in Kiribati.

Thanks to pastoral support in Australia, Retati developed a seven-point plan for her future. Not only is she supporting her family, she is also contributing to her community. When she returns home, she mentors her old boss in best practice for managing a hotel, and passes on her Australian hospitality training to the hotel staff.

To ensure financial security, Retati has used her budget planning training provided by the Program to embark on a savings program, in addition to the remittances she regularly sends home. She has recently bought a car in Kiribati and is renting it out through the hotel. She continues to work towards her ultimate goal of running an event planning business in Kiribati.

Retati dreams of improving her family's circumstances. By working hard in Australia to learn new skills and financially plan for the future, she is able to take steps to making a real difference to their lives.

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