Work ethic stands out

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STEWART ni­cola.stewart@wrcn.co.nz

Five months ago, 22-year-old Vi Ara Tai­hana was strug­gling to find work and wasn’t sure what the fu­ture held.

He was liv­ing by him­self in Wa­haroa, had no high school qual­i­fi­ca­tions and no real work ex­pe­ri­ence.

To­day, he has a full-time job with Stan­ley Con­struc­tion and is on his way to start­ing a build­ing ap­pren­tice­ship.

It all hap­pened on a bit of a whim.

Vi Ara was en­rolled in a full-time em­ploy­ment course with the Sal­va­tion Army, when Stan­ley Group man­u­fac­tur­ing man­ager Sean Woods and mod­u­lar fac­tory man­ager Gary Jack­son came to talk to the stu­dents.

The em­ploy­ment course was run in a build­ing across the road from the Stan­ley mod­u­lar fac­tory.

‘‘Gary and I went over for what we thought would be a five minute chat but it turned into about 40 min­utes,’’ said Mr Woods.

Em­ploy­ment bro­ker Paul John­stone had asked the pair to speak to the stu­dents about what em­ploy­ers are look­ing for in an in­ter­view.

‘‘It’s a re­ally dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer but we ba­si­cally told them what we were look­ing for and what we would ex­pect to see,’’ said Mr Woods.

‘‘On the spot, I told Paul, ‘ choose your best five can­di­dates and I’ll in­ter­view them as a dummy, pre­tend­ing there’s a job at the end’.’’

Mr John­stone chose five stu­dents, one of them Vi Ara, and they set up for­mal in­ter­view times for each.

‘‘Com­pletely off the cuff, I agreed out of those five I would hire one when the time was right for us,’’ said Mr Woods.

Of the five, Vi Ara was the only one who turned up to his in­ter­view on time and well pre­sented – two of the things Mr Woods had talked to the stu­dents about.

‘‘He made the ef­fort,’’ said Mr Woods.

He didn’t make it easy on Vi Ara - he in­ter­viewed him twice and Mr Jack­son in­ter­viewed him a third time.

‘‘In the end, Gary came into my of­fice, put Vi Ara’s CV on my desk and said, ‘that’s the one I want’.’’

They started Vi Ara out on a two-week trial in the mod­u­lar fac­tory and a few days af­ter his trial ended, pre­sented him with a con­tract in front of his en­tire class at the em­ploy­ment course.

‘‘All we want to do is give the right peo­ple the right op­por­tu­ni­ties – then it’s up to them,’’ said Mr Woods.

‘‘The one thing that al­ways shone out about Vi Ara is you only have to ask him some­thing once.’’

Vi Ara has been work­ing as a ca­sual labourer at the mod­u­lar fac­tory for the last eight weeks and, all go­ing well, Stan­ley in­tend to put him through an ap­pren­tice­ship.

‘‘It’s a happy place, a good en­vi­ron­ment . . . hard work though,’’ said Vi Ara.

The chance to be­come a fully qual­i­fied builder is a huge op­por­tu­nity for him and some­thing that he is ‘‘slowly get­ting a pas­sion for’’.

‘‘Some­times when I’m with my fam­ily I like to talk about work and that’s about it,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t want to be another big hope and miss the whole sub­ject of get­ting your dreams achieved.’’

Mr Woods said the other work­ers ‘‘rave’’ about Vi Ara and if they found more young peo­ple like him, they would be happy to hire them. ‘‘He is an ab­so­lute di­a­mond. ‘‘ He’s only been with us eight weeks and al­ready he’s prov­ing to be a great team mem­ber and an as­set to that fac­tory.

‘‘And all I can of­fer him is a job.’’

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