Carac Couplings owner John Burling loves giving work to people on the dole.
In his 24 years in business, Burling has hired many staff who have been unemployed.
"As long as they show initiative, I'll give them a job. I've taken lots of people off the unemployment benefit and am pleased to give them an opportunity they might not otherwise get," he said. "I take them on based on their attitude, and most times it works out."
Burling said he had hired staff who walked into his premises off the street. "I often give them a job because they've got off their a... and done something - just by coming in here."
The Eltham business, which exports engineering componentry and gadgets all over the world, has more than 40 staff.
With growing demand for its products and new state-of-the-art equipment including the world's fastest laser-cutter, the company is now looking for new employees, particularly fabricators.
Burling has hired 10 new staff in the past two months and is in the process of hiring another five or six.
One of his new employees is school-leaver Brad Cottam, 16, who helps operate the new, $1.2 million German fiber laser Carac Couplings installed earlier this year.
The Trumpf fiber laser is a state-of-the-art, precision machine noted for its performance, accuracy, safety, efficiency and speed, and is the only one in Australasia.
Cottam, 16, completed NCEA Level 1 last year and left New Plymouth Boys' High School seven weeks ago to take the job at Carac Couplings.
He hopes the job will lead to an engineering apprenticeship.
Meanwhile, he's loving what he does. "I'm so busy and the days are flying by," he said.
Another employee, who started work at Carac Couplings three months ago, had been on the dole for four years.
After six years driving a forklift in the freezers at what is now Silver Fern Farms' plant in Hawera, Jim (not his real name) left when a repetitive strain injury to his arm became too painful for him to continue the job. For a while he worked in a fibreglass plant, until being made redundant.
From that time, he was unable to find work, being told by those he saw as prospective employers that no work was available.
Now he's enjoying his work at Carac Couplings and has already learnt new skills, like welding.
"I didn't know anything about engineering, but John has taught me a lot in three months," he said.
Burling keeps a sign in the window in the hope of attracting suitable employees.
Work and Income broker Rene van de Weert, of Stratford, said about seven Taranaki people on the unemployment benefit had been placed in work at Carac Couplings in the past month or two.
"John's a good employer and he gives young ones a go. He's willing to train them but now he wants people with welding experience to meet orders for TrackGrip," he said.
Taranaki regional commissioner for social development Gloria Campbell said the Government offered a range of services, including subsidies and training initiatives, to employers wanting to increase staff numbers.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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