3-year aged-care Australian contract ‘opens doors’ for mother of six

It has been a long wait, but one that has come at the right time, says mother of six Elenoa Sauduadua.

She (standing far right in the photo) is one of nine Fijians set to leave for Australia next week to work in an aged-care facility in New South Wales, for three years, under the Australian Pacific Labour Scheme.

Sauduadua graduated with aged-care certificate from APTC in 2015 and has since worked as caregiver locally including her parents who died three months apart this year.

She moved to Nabouciwa village to take care of her aged parents until their death – her Dad died in April and her mother, in July.

Prior to moving to the village, Sauduadua worked as a caregiver, caring for aged Fijians, enabling her to support her family and put her children through school – one of whom, her eldest son serves in the British Army, her second child, a daughter is studying at the FNU School of Medicine, two other sons are doing their years 12 and 10 high school studies at Queen Victoria School, and her two youngest daughters are in primary school – one in year seven and the other in year four.

The three-year contract with Health X aged care facility in New South Wales also allows her to fulfill her late father’s wishes.

“My father’s words to me was ‘to keep moving forward and God will open doors for you’, and this certainly provides a pathway for me to further my education in this particular field and pursue my bachelor’s degree. I love this job and I am thankful that whilst working there, we are allowed to do studies on the side which will help fulfil my father’s wishes,” Sauduadua said.

“I am thankful of the opportunity. It will help me to develop my skills and utilise my knowledge as well. And I thank the Government of Australia with the Health X to select us to be one of those workers in Australia.

“It will help enhance my family’s standard of living and provide my children better education opportunities.”

Although she will not be spending the festive season with her family, Sauduadua is guaranteed one all the same and an early one at that because her son who is in the British Army is visiting and is currently quarantining in Nadi.

“He is in Nadi at the moment and I am looking forward and happy to see him before I leave.”

If it were not for the contract, Sauduadua said she would have looked for care-giving jobs locally, but knows her earnings would not be enough to support her family and allow her to further her professional career.

“I pursued a Degree in Dietician, but had to drop out because being a private student, I could not afford the fees. This opportunity gives me another chance to further my studies and knowledge.”

Sauduadua and her eight departing colleagues, all of whom hold certificate three in an aged-care related qualification – individual support or aged care –  will fly out of the country next Wednesday. Their employer will organise their accommodation.

Today the nine convened at the Albert Park pavilion for day one of a three-day pre-departure briefing co-organised by the Ministry of Employment, Productivity, Industrial Relations, the National Employment Centre, and the Australian High Commission (AHC). During the briefing, they will go through what is expected of them when in Australia, the do(s) and don’ts, reminded of the purpose of their going to work in Australia, and how they will manage their money. They are part of the second cohort of Fijian workers to leave Fiji under the PLS since the border reopened.

In attendance was the Minister for Employment Praveen Kumar who congratulated and wished them well, reminding them also not to be swayed by the ‘bright lights, but to be great ambassadors of the country by way of doing their best so as to open doors for other Fijians keen to join the PLS program particularly for caregiving.

“You are to be reminded that whilst in Australia please remind yourself that you are there to work, earn money and always remember your families back home especially your children and spouse for married workers,” Kumar said.

“Don’t let the bright lights divert your goals of working in Australia for livelihood of your family especially your children’s future.”

AHC First Secretary Political Malcom Paterson also wished them well and thanked them for the sacrifices that they have had to make to take up the job opportunity. He also urged them to seek help if they are ever in trouble, seek clarification from their employers if they are unsure about conditions or even the PLS, the Fijian High Commission in Canberra or the National Employment Centre.

“There are people in Australia whose job is to act in your best interests. The Labour mobility program has been designed with your welfare in mind. However, no one is aware of your problems… so be brave and speak up.”

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