Determination to get job paid off, says man who had 4 years on dole

After four years on the unemployment benefit Gabriel Walden woke up one day and realised something had to change.

At the end of 2011 he packed a handful of clothes into a small backpack, left his Marfell home and hitched a ride down to the bright lights of Whanganui.

"I had no money, no nothing."

Within two months of relocating he was off the benefit and into full-time employment, working as a packer on the night shift at Affco New Zealand's Whanganui plant.

"Since then life has been great. I feel like I'm finally going somewhere," he said.

Mr Walden said he was now being paid a healthy weekly salary.

After paying weekly child support, an old court fine and student loan repayments each week he was left with $800 a week to live on.

He also had KiwiSaver set up and was saving towards buying a house, he said.

Mr Walden said during his time at the meatworks he had gained a health and safety certificate and a meatworkers certificate and was now working to get a meat processing (boning) certificate.

"Each day I feel I'm bettering myself."

The best part about being employed was meeting new people, having money in the bank and seeing a future laid out ahead of himself, he said.

"It gives you a better understanding of where you want to go and where you want to be."

Taranaki Daily News