Grant provides ticket to job in Christchurch

FRESH START: Blenheim beneficiary Vanessa Woodley-Gill took up the offer of a $3000 grant to relocate to Christchurch for a new job.
FRESH START: Blenheim beneficiary Vanessa Woodley-Gill took up the offer of a $3000 grant to relocate to Christchurch for a new job.

A Marlborough woman is able to hold her head high when she is asked what she does for a living, after taking up an offer from the government to get off the benefit.

The offer meant Vanessa Woodley-Gill, 19, had to pack up her life in Blenheim and move to Christchurch, but that was a small price to pay for the promise of employment, and $3000 to get her there.

The trained hairdresser moved to Christchurch on Sunday, and started work on Monday with a freight company.

She made the move after accepting a $3K to Christchurch grant from the Ministry of Social Development.

The initiative was introduced by the Government on July 1, providing up to 1000 beneficiaries nationwide with $3000 to move to Christchurch, where thousands of jobs have been created because of the rebuild of the quake-hit city.

Recipients had to have a fulltime job offer in the city to be eligible for the grant.

Woodley-Gill said the initiative provided her with an opportunity she did not have in Blenheim, after deciding a career in hairdressing was not for her.

"I was looking, but there wasn't [any jobs], I wasn't good enough for any."

She had been on a benefit for about 1 months before the opportunity to move to Christchurch came up.

"When people ask you ‘oh, what do you do'? and you don't have a job it's pretty embarrassing. I always said I'm not like most of the people on the benefit . . . I'm actually looking for jobs," Woodley-Gill said.

The money from the ministry provided her with funds to get to Christchurch and set herself up in accommodation.

She had moved into a flat with some friends she already knew in the city. "I wouldn't have been able [to do it on my own] because I wouldn't have been able to come down here, as in petrol to get to the job, so it was a really big help," she said.

Her new role involved sorting freight, but would develop into administration work, Woodley-Gill said.

Ministry regional commissioner John Henderson said there had been steady interest in the scheme so far.

As at July 27, 157 people had received a grant under the initiative nationwide.

Of those, 23 people were from the Marlborough, Nelson and West Coast areas, Henderson said.

Over half of those who had received the grant were aged between 18 and 29, and most had found jobs in the construction sector.

Others had found work in retail, transport and manufacturing, he said.

The Marlborough Express