Melania Ratotodro wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a ship captain.
However, her father was not keen on sending his only daughter out to sea. Knowing Melania was fascinated by mechanics, he suggested she pursue a career in automotive technology.
Melania loved the idea, so she took a basic course at a local institution before joining the workforce. She was laid off her job after two years due to an organizational restructure.
While Melania was considering what she would do next, a friend suggested she apply for the Australia-Pacific Technical College (APTC) automotive course in Suva.
To her pleasant surprise, her application was successful and she enrolled in the course as a New Industry Entrant.
“My father did his captain’s course in Tasmania,” she said. “He told me I should complete this course because Australian education is very different from what we learn in Fiji.”
Under the guidance of APTC trainer Roger West and tutor Ashbin Singh, Melania has completed two training blocks and most recently completed her first industry attachment at Carpenters Motors.
Melania is the only female among the 30 students currently enrolled in this course. She said her gender has never been a problem for her.
“I’ve never needed to compete with the guys, we get along well,” she said. “I enjoy studying here because my trainers are the best. They explain things clearly. I’m learning new things everyday and I was easily able to apply what I’ve learnt here, at Carpenters.”
Her trainers are pleased with her progress. “Mela is a fast learner,” they said. “She is being trained in every aspect of automotive technology which will help her to work effectively and confidently in the industry.”
Melania wants to own an automotive garage someday.