Filipino expat in UAE pays it forward by helping hundreds find jobs
Jethroefel has inspired young engineers to chase their dreams, sending a message that hard work and determination do pay off.
Abu Dhabi - Instead of basking in his success and enjoying the fruit of his hard work alone, he shared it with others.
Filipino expat Jethroefel Esposo Ramboyong, 45, a telecommunications engineer at Etisalat, has done tremendous contributions for his compatriots living in the UAE and inspired many youngsters from Manila to take on professional jobs in the country.
The story of Jeth, as he is fondly called, is one that would resonate with every Filipino here, if not all expats. He left home, not knowing exactly what the future would bring, and ventured out with nary a friend or a kin - armed only with the goal to provide his family with "the good life".
Like many, he built his career from the ground up, he started small and persevered. He was first a technician doing all the groundwork on the field for Etisalat, now he is a full-fledged engineer making projects happen at the firm.
But instead of basking in his success and enjoying the fruit of his hard work alone, he shared it with others. Ten years after coming to the UAE, he founded the first ever organisation of Filipino electronics and communications engineers (ECE) in the country in 2008.
And year after year since then, he has been helping hundreds of Filipinos - both young, wide-eyed hopefuls and seasoned experts in the field - find their place in the UAE.
"We started with 32 engineers and now the association comprises over 400 engineers in the UAE," said Jeth. The organisation was first called Filipino Electronics and Communications Engineers Association (FECEA), then it became the UAE chapter of the Institute of Electronics Engineers of the Philippines UAE (IECEP), an association that every fresh ECE graduate in the Philippines is familiar with.
"We have extended support to those looking for jobs. We also help them upgrade their professional competency levels through conducting seminars and trainings, and support them in applying for professional ECE certifications, Asean Engineering Registry, among others," he said.
Jeth, father of two girls, has spent 20 years working in Abu Dhabi and, now, he is looked up to by the Filipino community in the Middle East as a towering figure and advocate of professionalism in the workplace.
"I came to the UAE on September 12, 1998. I was the youngest among the more than 300 technicians and engineers hired during a mass recruitment in Manila for Etisalat that year," he said. Being in a foreign land for the first time - without any friends - wasn't easy at first. But as time passed, he managed to cope up, especially when he met the Filipino community organisations.
"I reached out to the Pag-iribang Bicolnon sa Abu Dhabi (a community of Filipinos who hailed from a region in the Philippines), which eventually became my first family in the UAE," said Jeth.
Back then, the Filipino community in the UAE was just small - but it was a tight-knit circle.
"Filipinos then knew each other at least by face. Whenever there was an event, you would see Filipinos from far-flung areas coming to Abu Dhabi to interact with each other.
"Now it's different, the community has grown and Filipinos are everywhere across the UAE," he said.
Helping the community
Jeth knew he could help the growing community and the new expats develop their skills and eventually succeed in their fields - and so he built an organisation that is now called IECEP-UAE.
Being the first Filipino in the UAE to have passed the Asean Engineer Registry, he has inspired young engineers to chase their dreams, sending a message that hard work and determination do pay off. With IECEP, he has helped over 400 engineers find jobs.
Jeth also initiated and chaired the first IECEP Middle East Convention in September 2011 in Dubai. He led various talks and discussions with different organisations and these have bolstered the reputation of Filipino professionals in the Middle East.
His relentless efforts to support the Filipino community have won him two awards from Philippine organisations, including the 'Bagong Bayani Award', which is given to exemplary overseas Filipino workers, and the 'Outstanding Professional of the Year Award' in the field of electronics engineering.