Levi Menzies started his own business after spending years collecting sick pay. Photo / George Novak
“There were times I would go out there screaming and saying I couldn’t accomplish this, it’s too hard.”
These are the words Levi Menzies uses to describe his journey off sick pay
and at work – with the help of the Department of Social Development.
The 27-year-old, who said he once suffered from low self-esteem and low self-confidence, is now the boss of his own security firm, in Tauranga – and that’s him who decides.
Menzies was reluctant to sound his own trumpet, but said it felt good to ‘get the job done’.
From his own recollection, he was a beneficiary for about seven years before getting a part-time job in security.
His father had worked in the industry, so he knew the tricks of the trade. But when Covid struck last year, and he was approached by another security firm to provide 24-hour security, Menzies seized the opportunity and set up Prime Focus Security.
“I always said that I would be an independent trader and that I will not employ staff, but that changed quite quickly as I was working 24 hours a day.”
Now he employs one full-time, two part-time and his partner Lisa who helps him out as needed and takes care of administration.
The company specializes in static and construction security alongside mobile patrols, alarm responses and personal security.
Being the master of his destiny went well with Menzies who said “I just decided one day that I’m going to do this and no one is going to stop me”.
Department of Social Development Bay of Plenty Regional Commissioner Mike Bryant said although the year had been very difficult, thousands of Bay of Plenty beneficiaries had found employment.
Data shows that between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, 5,255 people from Bay of Plenty left the benefit system to go to work.
These included 2,180 beneficiaries from the Western Bay of Plenty and 1,268 from Rotorua.
“We remain committed to doing all we can to connect job seekers with employers.”
The ministry worked with local partners such as chambers of commerce; Association of Employers and Manufacturers; NZKGI; FCIA and economic development agencies, including Priority One and Grow Rotorua, as well as representatives from iwi.
Job seekers found opportunities in sectors such as hospitality, roofing, construction, administration and forestry, as well as apprenticeships in butchery, hairdressing, carpentry and electricity.
The government has also pledged to expand Flexi-Wage to help companies hire up to 40,000 more New Zealanders, he said.
MSD employment initiatives
* Pop-Up-Job stores connect job seekers with potential employers and are organized throughout the Bay of Plenty region.
* Free recruiting service and suite of products and programs designed to get Kiwis to work and stay at work.
* Support for the kiwi industry in its recruitment needs. Help may be available with transportation and additional costs to help people get their jobs started in the best possible way.
* Look for employment opportunities in the industry on the Work the Seasons website http://www.worktheseason.co.nz
* An industry partnership approach where we can support industry or individual employers with tailor-made employment programs. http: //www.workand Income.govt.nz/employers/
* Quick Return to Work: A telephone employment service that supports people who have recently been displaced from their jobs by providing CV and cover letter support, job interview preparation and assessing transferable skills and referring them to available job opportunities.
* Expansion to Mana in Mahi: Increased duration and amount of support participants can receive and increased amount of wage subsidies employers receive.
* Connected: Coordinate the delivery of all government employment, education and training services through the Connected website, 0800 phone line and ground connected spaces in Mount Maunganui, Tauranga and Whakatane, and throughout New Brunswick -Zeeland.
* Recruitment Tool for Work and Income: A free job site that allows employers to list jobs and connect with New Zealanders looking for work.
* Work the Seasons: Improved our seasonal recruiting portal to include accommodation listings alongside job postings. – Source Ministry of Social Development