Master of Applied Management
Student Lloyd Anthony Aro has landed a job as Health and Safety Adviser for a major Auckland infrastructure project after starting out as a cleaner on the site.
Lloyd trained as a nurse back home in the Philippines and then started his career as a site nurse on an infrastructure project in Doha. He knew he preferred to be outdoors and involved with business on an operational level to he soon moved into a health and safety role within the company.
After more than five years in the Middle East, his mother asked him to return to the Philippines and help with the family’s agricultural business. So, for the next six years, he was immersed in the business, dealing with national and international companies and establishing his networks.
Lloyd and his wife thought they were settled and didn’t think they’d go back abroad. That was until their “miracle” healthy baby boy came along. The couple knew they wanted to set a good foundation for their son abroad and chose New Zealand because his wife’s sister was already here.
“I did my research about this country, about the healthcare system, the education, lifestyle,” says Lloyd.
He began his journey by enrolling in OPAIC’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Management, which he studied online from the Philippines. This July, he and his family were able to enter New Zealand through a Government border exemption for students. He’s now studying toward a Master of Applied Management on campus.
Lloyd realised he needed a part-time job to sustain his family and jokingly asked a family friend with a cleaning business if she was hiring. She invited him to start the following week.
“I took the opportunity because I knew that everything would just follow,” says Lloyd.
He says people sometimes look down on cleaners in the Philippines but it’s not like that in New Zealand and he never felt ashamed of the work.
“My mindset at that time was, every time I clean, I’m paid by the hour. I thought this first hour is going to be my meal. The second hour will be the meal of my wife.”
Lloyd’s new cleaning job was on the construction site of the Link Alliance Project at Britomart.
“The moment I went inside the site I declared to myself, I’m going to work here, not as a cleaner but on the construction side. I knew I could use my background in safety.”
After a few weeks as a cleaner, Lloyd started expanding his networks by talking to everyone.
He’d say hello to everyone, and he tried to learn some of each of their native languages. He soon started asking if managers were hiring and handing out copies of his CV.
“What I learned is, there will always be rejection. That’s not a reason for you to stop but a reason for you to move forward,” says Lloyd.
He knew he wanted to work full-time over his study break so set a goal of finding a full-time job by December to provide for his family.
The opportunity came along when he heard a Health and Safety Adviser was going away for the summer. He interviewed for the position using tips he learned in his classes and from the Employability Team at OPAIC, and they offered him the job.
He’s now working as a Health and Safety Advisor for the Link Alliance Project in Britomart Station.
Lloyd says he wanted to share his story because he knows it can be difficult for international students to find a job related to their previous experience when they first arrive in New Zealand.
“If it happened to me, of course, it will happen to you as well. You need to persevere. Don’t get discouraged.”