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Scholarship winner nabs coveted graduate role

Scholarship winner nabs coveted graduate role

  • 01 Jul 2024
Solomon fifita

An engineering graduate whose studies were supported by a Ministry for Pacific Peoples scholarship has been offered a coveted role at Beca.

23-year-old Aucklander Solomon Fifita (pictured left) is thrilled to have been offered a graduate position at the large engineering consultancy and is looking forward to using this role to improve infrastructure for Māori and Pacific communities. 

Solomon is one of eight siblings, and credits his Tongan family as his biggest motivation. Having always enjoyed maths and problem-solving at school, he “copied-slash-followed” his older brother into engineering, choosing civil engineering because the “vastness of each discipline” appealed to him. 

While studying, Solomon heard about the Toloa programme from older students who were past recipients. Toloa supports Pacific peoples to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, offering scholarships at secondary and tertiary levels. 

Solomon successfully secured a Toloa Tertiary Scholarship in both 2021 and 2022, and says the scholarship meant “I was able to focus on studies without any financial stress”. 

In 2022, Solomon completed an internship at engineering consultancy Beca. A major firm with 25 offices around the world, it was a coveted position for any engineering student, and Solomon thrived in his role in the water conveyance team. 

He says the internship helped him gain more confidence in his own abilities, which was reinforced when he was asked to come back in a full-time graduate role the following year. Solomon was excited to accept the role, saying it took a weight off his shoulders.

“It was great as I didn’t have to complete the full graduate application process and didn’t have to worry about applying for roles while I completed my final year of studies,” he says.

Connecting his work to his culture is big for Solomon, who helped launch Beca’s Pasifika network during his internship. He’s looking forward to starting his full-time role and wants to use it to support Pacific communities.

“Building knowledge of Te Ao Māori and implementing this in my work is important to me as Tangata Tiriti,” says Solomon.

“I aspire to provide support for improving infrastructure for Māori and Pasifika, and would love to be in a role where I'm working closely with these communities.”