Civil Engineering – from China to Fiji

Bilash PrasadLike most young children, Bilash Prasad would often imagine himself in jobs ranging from being a pilot to a fireman to a farmer.  However, the profession that appealed to him most was that of an engineer. 

“Choosing civil engineering was easy as I wanted to be an engineer one day,” he said.  

Eldest of three siblings, Prasad grew up in Korovatu, Labasa.  He knew that becoming an engineer would mean going for studies to Suva, away from home, but that did not deter him.  Determined to make it happen Prasad worked hard in his studies

After completing Form Six at Naleba College, he received a scholarship to further his education at the Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT), now known as FNU’s College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST).

He moved to Suva and enrolled in the Diploma in Civil Engineering which was a two-year programme. 

“FNU was challenging but also an exciting place to learn and make lifelong friends.”

Upon completion of his studies, Prasad worked for Roshan’s Constructive Solution as the Site Supervisor to complete the six-month workplace attachment required to graduate.

“As the site supervisor at Roshans Constructive Solution, I was responsible for looking after the construction work of residential buildings,” he shared.

After fulfilling his workplace attachment and study requirements, Prasad graduated with a Diploma in Civil Engineering in 2012.  He continued working for the same company but was eager to study further in the field.

With luck on his side, Prasad received another scholarship to pursue a Bachelor in Civil Engineering at the Jiangsu University in Zhenjiang, China in 2012.

This experience of a lifetime meant studying in a country that has constructed buildings and infrastructure worldwide.  It was challenging to adjust to a new climate, different culture and another language but Prasad had his end goal in mind.  While studying, he worked as an intern for a company called Nantong Huarong in Jiangsu, China.

“I spent two months with qualified Engineers on-site as an intern where construction of a 28 story apartment was going on. I was involved in site inspection, quality assurance, and, monitoring the construction work with the Site Engineer,” he said.

After graduating in 2016, Prasad returned to Fiji and worked briefly at Chand’s Drafting Services in Suva as the Architectural and Structural Designer responsible for architectural and structural designing of one and two-story residential buildings, before joining Palladium in their Access to Quality Education Program (AQEP) as the Infrastructure Construction Monitor in January 2017.

Speaking about his role, he said, “In this role, my responsibility was to oversee services of building design engineers from moderate to major works and contribute to the timely and quality delivery of AQEP reconstruction efforts in response to TC Winston.”

“I was also responsible for coordinating the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in schools programme implemented by AQEP in collaboration with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT), which commenced in 2018. My role as Project Manager and Engineer for the WASH in schools was to scope, plan, budget and monitor that the programme ran effectively and efficiently in reaching its objectives as a whole which complies with children’s health and hygiene,” he added.

Later in 2018, Prasad joined Fiji Airports where he currently works as the Site Project Manager. As part of his job, he is responsible for the Nausori International Airport Upgrade and Runway Extension Project.

Sharing his views about his current role, Prasad said that the project is of national significance and will benefit the country as a whole once complete.

“Managing such a big project is quite challenging, but I love the experience,” he added.

Giving advice to new graduates, he said, “simply, I would say be open to change, do not be afraid to make mistakes and learn from everything.”