Former prisoner finally gets some good news
FORMER prisoner Rodney Stewart has been unemployed for the better part of seven years - but that all changed two short weeks ago.
In November of last year, the South Burnett Times covered a story on the Kingaroy man's challenge to find a job.
It's been six months, but Mr Stewart has some good news to report.
He is into his second week of regular employment at Kingaroy's newest service station, Liberty Fuel Station on Youngman St.
"My first day was interesting. I had never been on the till before," he said.
Since we last caught up with Mr Stewart he had mixed employment success.
"I was doing a little bit of pruning out at Kumbia," he said.
One employer had offered him regular work only to renege shortly after.
"I even bought all the work clothes. He rang me back that night after spending $170 and said 'we don't need you'," Mr Stewart said.
Having a criminal record has made bringing in a regular pay check a distressing situation.
To Mr Stewart's credit, he has always been upfront and honest with potential employers.
"I have told all the workers here," he said.
"Better off me telling them than someone else."
Mr Stewart praised his employment consultant, Pauline Roberts from APM in Kingaroy, saying she did a great job in helping to secure his first regular job in seven years.
"Pauline said, 'you have an appointment to meet the manager', it was basically an immediate start," he said.
Liberty office manager Lilli Taffe said their newest employee picked up the job very quickly.
"He pretty much clued on straight away."
She said they were made aware of Mr Stewart's criminal history before he started, but all she saw was a hard-working employee.
"He was good, we won't judge him for that," she said.
The new job was further good news for the Kingaroy resident whose partner is due to deliver their baby any day.
"It's a good thing I am on night shifts," he joked.
Mr Stewart offered some sound advice for anyone else who is struggling to find work.
"Just keep going, don't give up," he said.
"It's hard yakka, but there are people out there who will give you a go."