A good initiative

Olivia Carville at The Press reports:

Two Christchurch construction companies are hiring beneficiaries for the city’s rebuild.

Fletcher Building and Hawkins Construction have embedded Work and Income staff members to help recruit unemployed youth for jobs in the rebuild.

The two companies have assisted 86 unemployed Cantabrians into work.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett visited a Hawkins Construction site today and met four workers who had been employed through the Work and Income scheme and a Maori trade training scheme.

One of the workers, apprentice Jesse Neville, 19, said he had been trying to secure a job for four years.

He had been on a benefit for 12 months before Work and Income gave him the chance to get an apprenticeship with Hawkins Construction.

Although life was “easier being on the dole, it’s less boring working”, he said.

When he was on a benefit he would usually wake up at noon and play Xbox for the afternoon, but now he was “way more motivated”.

Neville had applied for about 30 jobs to no avail and said that if the apprenticeship opportunity had not been offered to him, he would still be on the benefit.

That’s a very cool story. We need more of those.

Another worker had been employed at Hawkins Construction through He Toki ki te Rika, a collaborative Maori trade training scheme with Ngai Tahu, the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology and Hawkins.

Patrick Kohu, 51, decided he needed to “make a change” in his life after he was released from prison, and he had chosen to get involved with the programme.

“It offers a sense of belonging and purpose, I suppose. It’s about rebuilding my past,” he said.

And that is even better.

I will point out the 90 day probation period makes it less of a risk for employers to take on staff with a chequered background.

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