For Barry Molloy, the last few months have been like a long, hard slog up the Tasman region’s infamous Tākaka Hill.
The Motueka co-ordinator for Nelson Coachlines has 17 buses in his yard but has struggled to find the staff to drive them.
A tight labour market. A chronic national skills shortage. And then the Government’s new rules around vaccinations for businesses.
“When the Government turned around and said they all have to be double-vaxxed we lost about four from this yard,” he says.
That added extra weight for the long drive up that hill, but Barry is happy to acknowledge the help of a partner to lighten the load.
Workbridge has helped Barry find two great drivers for the area’s school runs, and he’d be happy to take more.
“They have been ideal,” he says.”Really dedicated to the job – they turn up early.”
One of the drivers has spent two years away from the wheel, recovering from major surgery.
Workbridge employment consultant Naomi Winslade “contacted me to try to get him rehabilitated into driving school buses. And that’s worked brilliantly”.
Another jobseeker was supported through mental health and learning difficulties and is now a valued employee.
Naomi’s partnership with Barry and Nelson Coachlines, and the post-placement support of the employees, have been integral to the success.
“She was brilliant…the amount of time she’s put into it…dealing with Winz, numerous phone calls, because they changed the rules when she just about had it set up, had to go back and redo the whole thing again.”
Now Barry would be happy to take on more Workbridge jobseekers, and he encourages other employers to just say yes and have the confidence to consider a person’s abilities over their perceived disabilities.
“I’d say to any employer to go for it,” he says..
“If you put in the effort to help somebody into work they are going to be dedicated and will stick with the job.
“You end up with a good employee, and that’s not easy to find.”