Fiji National University (FNU) alumnus, Salaseini Salakawa, is making her mark in the male-dominated field of engineering. 

Graduating
with a Trade Certificate in Plant Maintenance from the Fiji Institute of
Technology (FIT), now College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST), in
2007, Salakawa is the Water Treatment Supervisor with the Tropik Wood
Industries Cogeneration plant in Lautoka. 

Reminiscing
her student days at FIT in 2004, she remembers being the only girl in her
cohort.

“Being
the only female in a class of boys was not only challenging but also fun. 
My lecturers were open-minded and provided me with opportunities to shine in
front of my male colleagues.  They were very helpful and always went out
of their way to assist students.”

Two
years after her graduation, Salakawa joined Tropik Wood Industries as a Trainee
Boiler Operator in her first full-time occupation.  She has since worked
herself up the ranks to the position of a Supervisor – the position she holds
at present.

Like
her classroom at FIT, Salakawa has once again found herself to be the only
female staff in her Section at Tropik Wood Industries.

In
her role as a Water Treatment Supervisor, Salakawa is in charge of a
four-million-dollar state of the art Water Treatment Plant constructed in
2016.  It is not only a water treatment plant but also the first
independent electricity producer for Fiji.   

“I’m
pleased to work for a company that empowers women, is an equal opportunity
employer and the only independent electricity producer that supplies 7% of Viti
Levu’s energy demand.”

Salakawa
has also completed additional qualifications to support her work including a
Training of Trainers (TOTS) and all three levels – Basic, Intermediate and
Advanced – Boiler Operation courses offered by the then National Training
Productivity Centre (NTPC) of FNU.   

She’s
been with Tropik Wood Industries for over a decade now, and she is comfortable
in her role and achievements in a male-dominated working environment. 

“I
treat the boiler and drinking water in addition to carrying out maintenance on
the Treatment Plant. I carry out water analysis as well as do preventive
maintenance on the Plant.”

“I
enjoy my work because it’s challenging.  It requires me to do a lot of
research and interact with a diverse group of people.”

Originally
from Tonia, Tailevu, Salakawa was raised on a dairy farm where she enjoyed
fixing things. 

“My
father is a devoted Christian who followed strict principles in life. If it
weren’t for him and my mother, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I was taught to
work hard from a very early age when I was only three years old. Our day would
begin with devotion at 4 am, followed by work in the field with my dad.”

Life
was not always easy, but Salakawa and her four siblings persevered.  

“In
those early days, we had to make do with whatever we had. Now, as an adult,
those memories push me to strive to be the best in whatever I do.” 

Salakawa
encourages graduates beginning their career to step out of their comfort zone
and conquer their fears where their profession is concerned. 

“Pushing
your comfort zone allows you to take advantage of opportunities that never
would have arisen otherwise.  One must also learn to conquer fear –
shattering inhibitions about your career begins with the right attitude. It’s
important to embody self-assurance and professionalism in all that you do.”

Salakawa
is married with a seven-year-old daughter.  She and her siblings are all
graduates of FNU. 

“As
a female in the engineering field, I want to show other women that they can do
it too.”

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt
Fiji TV Subscribe

Don't miss the HSBC Sevens Series LIVE on Fiji One.