Lance forges ahead with career

By Liz Wylie

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FIRED UP: Lance Steedman has found his niche working with metal at Simply Wrought Iron in Whanganui. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
FIRED UP: Lance Steedman has found his niche working with metal at Simply Wrought Iron in Whanganui. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

A bright spark was needed in the workshop at Simply Wrought Iron in Heads Rd and Lance Steedman was happy to make them with tools on metal.

Five years ago Mr Steedman could not find work in his home town of Taihape and was struggling to cope living with Asperger's Syndrome and being overweight.

He contacted Workbridge in Whanganui for support and employment consultant Jan Lawton said he has made remarkable progress since moving there in 2011.

"Lance decided he needed to take control of his life and he talked to Workbridge about finding work as well as joining Revitalise Gym and he has managed to lose 33kg.

"He now has not just one but two jobs," said Mrs Lawton.

Having grown up around his father's engineering workshop in Taihape, Mr Steedman had a range of skills that could be put to good use at Wanganui Enterprises where he found part-time work in 2011.

He wanted more work and discussed his goal with Workbridge who spoke with Wanganui Enterprises manager Andy Lynn.

Mr Lynn suggested that Simply Wrought Iron owner Graeme Kiff might need an extra worker. "I wasn't really looking for someone but I employed Lance for one day each week and over the last six months we have increased that to three days," said Mr Kiff.

Making gates, fences, furniture and helping with Mr Kiff's creative sculptures is something Mr Steedman said he enjoyed.

"I am learning a lot from Graeme and he is really good at letting me work at my own pace while I try new things," said Mr Steedman.

Mr Kiff in turn said he valued having a worker who fitted in well and produced quality work and he aimed to employ Mr Steedman full-time by the end of the year.

Mr Lynn said he was very pleased for Mr Steedman, although he would be losing a good worker.

"We are not the end game here and it is always good to see someone gain sustainable, long-term employment doing something they enjoy," he said.

Mrs Lawton said the co-operation between Workbridge, Wanganui Enterprises and Simply Wrought Iron has been good for all concerned.

"It is so gratifying when we can all scratch each other's backs like this and it has worked out so well for Lance."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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