New Job “Life-Changing”
Vai Toese is overwhelmed with the amount of support she has received since becoming a sole parent to three young boys.
After her husband left, Vai stepped up to care for the family on a sole parent benefit. “I had three kids to support after my husband left. It was really difficult.”
Now Vai has a job she loves at food wholesalers Bidfood Processing, which she found thanks to the Tāmaki Jobs & Skills Hub.
The hub provided Vai with job interview preparation, one-on-one sessions to support her job search and close mentoring that kept her motivated while she focused on the needs of her family. “They told me they’d be there when I was ready to start looking for work."
She’s also a Tāmaki Housing state house tenant, following a referral from Island Child - a Pt Englandbased charitable trust, which provided her with emergency accommodation - and Work and Income. “My three boys are seven, six and four. Now, I’ve got hope and a future because I’ve got a job, a home, and strong ongoing support. I truly appreciate everything these organisations did for me. I thank God who brought all these people into my life. I would like to encourage everyone who is looking for work to go into the hub, they provide amazing support that comes with a lot of love. I am extremely grateful for all that the hub team has done for me, especially on never giving up on me.”
Vai works in the processing room at Bidfood Processing, preparing fresh fruit and vegetables before they go out to clients. “It’s very cold in there, but I love what I do. I love the atmosphere and the people at Bidfood. I can see myself being in this job for many years. Coming in here has really opened me up to people. I’ve made new friends.”
Having a stable job and house to live in has helped Vai get back to normal. “It’s a big difference between life before and life now. I’ve got great family support. They pick up the kids when I can’t.”
Bidfood Processing general manager Shane Hughes says Vai is a great fit for his team. “Vai is an exceptional person and wants to turn her life around. “It’s good to be able to help local people. We are a national business, but firmly based in this community.” Many of Shane’s team are Tāmaki locals, which works well for the business. “Working close to home offers our team members so many synergies, being close to their home and kids. Bidfood has that community feel.” It’s also a great location for the business, due to its central location and proximity to customers, suppliers and motorways in Mt Wellington.
STRONG RELATIONSHIP WITH THE HUB
The relationship between Bidfood and the Tāmaki Jobs & Skills Hub is a strong one.
Hub business development manager, Sheaam Achmat made contact with Bidfood about helping local jobseekers and the relationship has blossomed, Shane says. “It’s great to be able to give back to the local community. It made total sense to us. We’ve had quite a few successes with placements from the Jobs & Skills Hub. Currently we have four who have come from there working with us at the moment. The team from the hub are very positive people – always upbeat, looking for opportunities to put local people into work. We supply quality food products into fine-dining restaurants, airlines, prisons and everywhere in between. We have a diverse range of customers. We’ve grown from five to 70 employees in the last five years.”
Tāmaki Jobs & Skills Hub manager Alice Taupau says developing relationships with businesses like Bidfood is one of the keys to placing local people into work. “Employers like Bidfood are fantastic to deal with. They are supportive of the community and offer opportunities to local people who are looking for a chance to better their lives.”