Jai Andrew is revelling in his new job, his first after a number of years job seeking.
Mr Andrew, 23, of Mt Druitt, said that after he finished high school he enjoyed his new-found freedom but slipped into bad habits such as sleeping- in and got behind the eight-ball securing a job.
Since getting a job at Hakka, an Asian food company, three months ago Mr Andrew believes he is more free than ever because he isn’t reliant on Centrelink payments.
“I now have a lot more freedom than when I wasn’t working,” he said.
“Now I don’t have that worry about ‘oh no this is my off week and I don’t have any money’.
“I am able to buy my food a week ahead after I get paid and I budget for everything else.”
Mr Andrew secured his job with the help of Sarina Russo Job Access in Mt Druitt.
He works in the factory completing quality assurance tasks and cleaning, and helping other new starters get going.
One notable obstacle he has already overcome since starting is a language barrier. Many employees at Hakka are Chinese and don’t speak fluent English.
“At work we don’t speak much, we use one word or a sentence and then hand gestures,” Mr Andrews said.
Job placement officer Ryan Murphy said Mr Andrew was always confident of working his way around the language barrier and was eager to get into work.
“His first day happened out of the blue because someone couldn’t come in so I called him and with four hours notice he was able to get to work,” Mr Murphy said.
Mr Andrew is working five days as a casual but is on the path to a fulltime position. He is now saving to cover an apartment rental bond.
Mt Druitt St Marys Standard, Sydney
Journalist - Elisha Pearce
Picture – David Swift