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Drug addiction, prison… and now, the first job in 15 years

A man who spent years behind bars but recently landed his first job in more than a decade says for the first time in his life he received positive feedback from an employer after he was finally given a chance.

Community leader Dave Letele of Buttabean Motivation (BBM) founded an employment agency, BBM Recruitment, this year.

“It’s very difficult to get people to work,” Letele said. “There just aren’t many opportunities at the moment.”

Bradley Fielding, 41, had not worked for around 15 years before BBM Recruitment helped him.

He now works for Gen2 car detailers in Manukau, cleaning vehicles for Trust Motors.

The bank warns that tax cuts proposed by the Government in next week’s Budget could increase inflation.

“It feels amazing,” he told 1News. “I am on the moon.

“I always wanted a job, but I never thought I would get it because of my past.

“I feel really blessed to be fully employed now.”

His last job was in sheet metal engineering, but then he “went off the rails.”

“I was using (drugs) while I was working, and it just didn’t work,” Fielding said.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in prison, I’ve dealt with drug addiction, and after my last four-year sentence, it gave me time to reflect on my life and want something better for myself.”

He also wanted to be a “clean and present” father to his four children.

“There aren’t many opportunities out there”

Community leader Dave Letele of BBM.

“The need for our services is immense,” Letele said. “This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

He said he had hundreds of people on his books, but it was difficult to get them to work.

“There just aren’t a lot of opportunities right now, the whole country is doing it hard. If companies are doing it hard, there are no jobs out there.”

Recent employment data for the March quarter showed an increase in the unemployment rate, from 4% in December to 4.3%. Job advertisement data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment showed demand for staff had “completely plummeted”, economist Shamubeel Eaqub told RNZ.

Letele said the recruitment arm was the missing piece of BBM, which also ran a food bank and helped people with their health and fitness.

From ‘underwater’ to ‘brand new’

Fielding said he was sitting at home, scrolling on his phone when he came across BBM Recruitment.

His partner encouraged him to “send an email and see where it goes.”

“Within a week, they had me here and got a job,” Fielding said. “It’s just a dream come true, I love it.”

Fielding said he can see a future in the business.

“We’ll get them dirty like cars and bring them back to the showroom to shine and then ship them back to the customer,” he explained.

“I enjoy everything to do with cars, I have a real passion when it comes to cars.

“They arrive like they’ve been underwater and then we take them to people and they’re like new again.”

‘I have never received good feedback from an employer. Ever’

Fielding said he is excited to go to work every day.

“I’ve even heard from bosses that if I keep up the good work, I could potentially be a team leader.

“So it’s really good to hear that, I’ve never gotten good feedback from an employer,” he said.

After being released from prison, Fielding contacted Work and Income, but said employers “didn’t want anything to do with (him)” once they found out about his criminal past.

“They just told me they couldn’t help me, and here’s Dave, willing to give anyone a chance.

“I’m really grateful”.

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