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Aisea Vaivela

Security Graduate

A photograph of Aisea Vaivela

Studying Security at UCOL set Aisea Vaivela up for career where he can help people.

Originally from Tonga, Aisea enrolled in UCOL’s NZ Certificate in Security (Foundation) (Level 3) after spending the previous seven years working in a milk factory in Australia.

“I wanted to do something different because I had done laboring and factory work my whole life. I had always wanted to work security at events and clubs, so I thought it would be best to get my qualification.”

Aisea was worried about how he would fare in tertiary study – with English as his second language and not having a lot of experience with computers. However, Aisea says he received great support from the staff at UCOL, who helped him improve his skills and build his confidence. 

“Everyone at UCOL really pushed me forward and supported me to get to where I am now.”

Aisea completed the Level 3 certificate early and quickly transitioned into the New Zealand Certificate in Security (Advanced) (Level 4).  He values how the programmes gave him the skills to remain calm in tricky situations and taught him about the professional conduct that is essential in the security industry. Aisea also gained experience working at major events and nightclubs in Whanganui.

“Doing the courses has helped me be a good role model for my family. They are so proud of how far I have come and I feel very happy with where I’m going. Study can be hard, but I never give up, which is something my kids can learn from.”

Aisea did so well in his studies that he was awarded a $2000 Whanganui and Partners Scholarship, which recognizes a student who is specifically training for a chosen career.

“It’s hard to explain how happy that made me,” says Aisea.

“I didn’t realise that I had come that far and sometimes I haven’t felt very important, but that showed me that people believe in me and I’m doing well. The scholarship really helped me and my family after the COVID-19 lockdown.”

In February 2021, not long after completing his Level 4 certificate, Aisea began training for his new job as a Corrections Officer at Whanganui Prison. He’s loving having a job where he can make a positive difference.

“The best part of my job is helping people. I talk to a lot of people inside and hopefully when they leave we won’t see them back again. At the end of the day they’re human beings, so I want to help them change their lives.”

Aisea credits UCOL for putting him on his new career path, and he hopes in the long term to run his own security business.

“If I didn’t do my UCOL courses, I wouldn’t have got to where I am now.”

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