Thankful for a shot

Published on Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Applying for up to 60 jobs a week with no success was getting her down. It wasn’t until Vanisa completed a single Māori mother’s employment programme offered through Manukau Urban Māori Authority that she was successful in her search.

For a long-time Vanisa Samuels, Ngāti Awa, had been searching for a chance to be able to prove to an employer that she has the skills and nous to be a great employee. Samuels, a south Auckland solo mother, always wanted a better life for her and her son but says finding full-time employment wasn’t an easy journey.

“I was applying for 50 to 60 jobs a week, editing my CV and trying to upskill at the same time, but every time I applied [for a job] I always got the same answer – it just wasn’t happening,” she says.

“While my son was in day-care I would go out and keep trying to find full-time employment but never got a shot.”

Miss Samuels lives alone and has minimal support from whānau, largely because she says, “they’re in the same boat as me, struggling to make ends meet.”

On the benefit Vanisa was required by Work and Income New Zealand to attend a 10-week course to look for employment but could only find jobs offering a few hours here and there.

“I’d find work for an hour or two in the evening, weekend, or evenings but could never find or pay a minder for my son or travel,” she said.

“I would have left after paying all my expenses $20 to $30 left to pay for my son’s lunches during the week so it was a luxury to be able to travel to the other side of Auckland for a job for a couple of hours after expenses there was nothing left.”

She continued through a second 10-week course with WINZ but was yielding the same results. “I was nearly at the end of my tether,” she admits.

It wasn’t until she was returning home that she came across an advertisement for a single Māori mother’s employment programme being offered through Manukau Urban Māori Authority.

“I thought to myself, I have nothing to lose, so I called the next day,” she said.

Vanisa called and made an appointment to meet with the programme manager – Kylie Morgan.

“I was blown away by Kylie and her presence. She spoke to us like real people she was practical in her approach, and gave us hope that at the end of the course that we would be in full-time employment in a place that we would want to be in.”

A promise that enabled Vanisa to succeed and led to full-time employment.

“Kylie came to me and said there was a job going at MUMA, I applied, a day later they rang me to make an appointment for the day, and two days later I got the call that I had got the job.”

“It was only for three months but I was so happy about, then I was over the moon to be offered a permanent position between hours which meant I could still look after my son

I’ve been able to open doors for a lot of positive things in my life, I’m so thankful. I’m just so thankful.”

Budget 2016 provides $40 million over 4 years through to the Whānau Ora commissioning agencies across the motu. This funding will support up to an additional 2,500 whānau and families through Whānau Ora commissioning activities.

Activities that support people like Vanisa Samuels achieve their goals, through the tools whānau have at their disposal.

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