Interview with Tiko Koroi from Australia
At a young age his dream was to become a pilot, an aeroplane pilot. At 22 he was fully licenced and operating all cranes up to 200 ton. Now Tiko Koroi is working as a Rigging and safety supervisor for a large company in Australia. Being around 30 years in crane sector, in this interview he speaks about his projects, work and private life.
– Firts of all I’d like to ask who you wanted to be? Tell me about your background. How was you start in operating cranes?
– I was born on an Island called Mavana in Fiji in June 1960. Back then life on the Island was good but if we needed proper education, we have to leave the family and the Island and go to the mainland called Suva. I had an abused life growing up without my parents. I lived with my relatives who mistreated me.
At a young age my dream was to become a pilot, an aeroplane pilot. I left school at the age of 14. I worked as a barman at a local resort. In 1978 at 18 I left Fiji and came to Australia.
My first job in Australia was Labouring work. I did labouring work for about 2 years and my big beak came when I started with Transfields as a dogmam, I then went on and did Rigging and thats when I had my big break on the cranes. I started learning how to operate cranes at age 20.
At 22 I was fully licenced and operating all cranes up to 200 ton.
-Do you remeber your firts earning?
– Working as barman back in Fiji used to earn me $35.00 a week. My first ever pay in Australia as a labour I took home $250.00, they used to pay us cash back then, I felt rich, it was the biggest money I ever earnt.
– What’s your tipical work day like? Being around cranes for about 30 years, you also mentioned that you have taught a few female riggers, dogman, and crane operators into the construction industry. Speak about it.
-Over the years I have operated cranes on projects such as Power stations, Building Dams, building High Rises, Civil and Marines building Wharfs.
I have had female labourers working along side me on different projects that I have encouraged to go for their dogging, rigging and crane tickets. I have actually taught them the trade and most of them have gone ahead and got their licences and I belive they are still working in the Industry. I believe they make the best operators and very level headed in dogging and rigging. I am now working as a Rigging and safety supervisor for a large company in Autralia. I am also a high risk trainer and assessor in the Industry and have been for about 7 years.
– Every person goes through some bad moment at least one time in a life. What helps to you in that moment? And what should person do to come out?
– After living an abused life with my relatives from a young age, I have learned to be street wise and strong in body and soul. I have learnt that you can achieve anything you wished for in life if you put your mind to it, even though my dream was to become an aeroplane pilot, the closest I could get to achieving that goal was to become a crane operator.
– What kind of specialized courses / studies / knowledge is needed to do your job?
– To become a crane operator now you need to do 1 week course and have logged hours prior to having the final practical assessments. This will consist of written and practical assessments.
You mostly need prior construction experience to be good at the work you do.
-Aside from work, how do you like to spend your free time, do you have any hobbies?
– I am a single dad, looking after my 2 daughters aged 10 and 11, they keep me busy with my work and my home life. With alot of support from my friends and family I am able to be successful in my work and home life. My hobbies are keeping, myself fit, listening to my Fijian music and just spending all my spare time with my daughters. Occassinally we would go fishing.
– 3 tips for young people who want to work in the crane sector?
– Tiko Koroi
a) Set yourself a goal.
b) Tell yourself that you can do it.
c) Work hard towards achieving that goal, nothing is imposible.
– seaside or mountains holidays?
– I love the sea, so I would spend my holidays near the beach.
– your favourite dish/cooking?
– Favourite dish would be fish cooked the Island way underground. (Fiji we call it Lovo).
– your favourite quotes?
– You can achieve your dreams if you work hard at it.