BEN Nadredre loves meeting new people. He also has another love and that is to help others.
So it is no surprise that the Sigatoka villager combined his two passions and has mapped out on what he hopes will be a long and illustrious career in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Having already spent 11 years in the business, Ben believes love for his work will take keep him in the industry for another 11 years.
"I love the hospitality business because of the opportunities it has presented me," said the 32-year-old.
His most recent opportunity came in the form of a six-month course with the Australia Pacific Technical College. He is the only Fijian student among a group of 31 Pacific Islanders enrolled for various courses on cookery and hospitality.
Ben was also elected by his classmates to be president of the student association.
"I am the kind of person that likes to aim high. When I get a job, I don't see it as something that will be 'it' for me. I always to strive to be better and get something better."
Ben started his education up the Sigatoka Valley at Bemana District School and then went on to Navosa Central College. He then completed his secondary education at Nadi College where he was head boy in his final year.
"After school in 1999, I got my first job at Nadi International Airport, working in one of the cafeterias. From there I went to Blue Lagoon Cruises and then I went to Intercontinental Resort.
"After that I went to a few other places before ending up at Surfing Fiji Resort where I'm currently working," he said.
Ben says his work has taken him to some great places in Fiji and he hopes to get more experience in other areas of the industry.
"Right now I want to be a supervisor which is why I took up this course. I just want to gain more knowledge and more experience from this course so that I can be able to move up," he says.
The limited number of students chosen from hundreds of applicants from across the Pacific makes the course all the more exclusive as graduates are guaranteed much better positions when they finish.
"I know I am very fortunate to be here. I know that we are gaining a lot from what we are learning and to also learn alongside my fellow Pacific Islanders," he said.