Work­ing on skills for life

Warwick Daily News - - NEWS - Elyse Wurm

AFTER three years of un­em­ploy­ment, Har­ley Stokes needed a busi­ness to give him a break.

War­wick Sand­blast and Pow­der­paint gave him the foot in the door he sought and now he is cel­e­brat­ing his first em­ploy­ment an­niver­sary with the com­pany.

Mr Stokes was em­ployed through the Back to Work Pro­gram, ex­panded in this year’s State Bud­get to of­fer $50 mil­lion in fund­ing to sup­port busi­nesses in hir­ing job­seek­ers aged 15-24.

He’s learnt how to re­build a sand­blaster from top to bot­tom, weld and of­fer great cus­tomer ser­vice.

“Pretty much any­thing that comes in I can fix it now,” he said.

“The con­fi­dence has gone through the roof.”

The mo­ti­va­tion, free­dom and hap­pi­ness he has picked up through the po­si­tion have made the big­gest dif­fer­ence to his life.

“When you’re stuck at home you don’t want to do any­thing and get stuck in a rut, be­come a her­mit,” Mr Stokes said.

“I have goals now, I’m try­ing to get my li­cence.”

Mov­ing from Beaudesert to War­wick to pur­sue the op­por­tu­nity, Mr Stokes said un­em­ploy­ment is a con­cern­ing is­sue for youth in the com­mu­nity.

“There’s noth­ing for kids to do or it’s not what in­ter­ests them,” he said.

“It’s bore­dom, peo­ple don’t want to deal with it and push it aside.

“I’d come from not very well off so I want to have some­thing in life and look back on my life and be happy.”

War­wick Sand­blast and Pow­der­paint man­ager Lau­ren Bat­ter­ham said the busi­ness had re­ceived on­go­ing sup­port from MAX Em­ploy­ment and Mis­sion Aus­tralia Em­ploy­ment from the time Har­ley was hired.

Mak­ing the new re­cruit feel at home was the top pri­or­ity so he ap­pre­ci­ated his value, he is one of many job­seek­ers the com­pany has helped get back into the work­force.

“Har­ley’s great, he’s learnt so much since he’s started work­ing here,” Ms Bat­ter­ham said.

“Some peo­ple don’t have that guid­ance in life or that pos­i­tive en­cour­age­ment from peo­ple.

“You can’t dis­crim­i­nate be­cause some­one hasn’t had the same start.”

PHOTO: ELYSE WURM

FIRST AN­NIVER­SARY: Har­ley Stokes and War­wick Sand­blast and Pow­der­paint man­ager Lau­ren Bat­ter­ham with dog Kate are cel­e­brat­ing one year since Har­ley joined the team.

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