Benefit kicked for six

Jeremy Schrider and Paki Findlater have found jobs after completing a knife skills course.
Jeremy Schrider and Paki Findlater have found jobs after completing a knife skills course.

Sometimes a second chance is all someone needs to start a new life.

Opportunities for full-time employment as C-grade boners at Riverlands in Eltham opened up for Paki Findlater, 23, of Stratford, and Jeremy Schrider, 20, of Eltham, upon completing a four- week knife skills programme at Feats.

The Riverlands Knife Skills Programme is funded by the Ministry of Social Development and gives people like Mr Findlater and Mr Schrider a chance to start afresh after years on the benefit.

Mr Schrider said he was tired of being on and off the benefit and did not want to continue watching from the sidelines while his friends worked.

"You see everyone getting out there working and you find yourself without work, and then getting into all sorts of trouble and doing stupid things," he said.

For Mr Findlater, boredom was the driving factor behind his motivation to rejoin the workforce. "I don't mind being broke, but I do mind being bored," he said.

However, finding a willing employer proved to be a challenge due to his criminal record.

"I got out of jail almost two years ago now and was on the benefit for a year," Mr Findlater said.

"My record held me back because I hadn't worked for three and a half years."

Mr Findlater and Mr Schrider are among the seven recruits who have just finished the inaugural knife skills programme which started on November 4 and finished on November 29 .

They started their new jobs on December 2.

Mr Schrider said it was great to be employed. "I want to tell people don't go on the dole, go get a job, it's a lot more fulfilling," he said.

He plans on buying himself a new car with his hard earned money.

Mr Findlater said he would rather be working 40 to 50 hours a week than sit around and twiddle his thumbs.

Riverlands HR manager Selwyn Nairn said the programme was so successful they are looking to run it again at the start of the beef season in October next year.

"We get a lot of people walking through the door looking for work but often they don't have the right set of skills or attitude," Mr Nairn said. "The knife skills training programme provided us with seven people who had the right attitude and acquired the necessary skills."

Feats general manager Cheree Menzies would like to hear from employers who would be interested in working to help provide people with job opportunities.

Taranaki Daily News