Motivation and determination have paid off for Whanganui's Joe Fallen who is back in the workforce.

Fallen, who is legally blind due to a degenerative eye condition, went public last July about his desire to find a job and the difficulty of getting an employer to give him a chance despite his experience in factory processing work and his excellent references.

His persistence in seeking employment paid off and since November Fallen has been employed as a process worker by Axiam Plastics.

"I'm working four hours a day at the moment and hope that will become fulltime as more work comes in," Fallen said.

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"Having a job has given me more confidence to do more things and I'm happy to be working again. I'm very grateful to the company for giving me an opportunity. Not many employers want to take on someone who is visually impaired.

"CCS helped me out with the paperwork for the Mainstream programme through Work and Income."

Axiam Plastics department manager Elaine Arnott (left) and CCS's Mark Wigmore (right) are supporting Joe Fallen in his new job.
Axiam Plastics department manager Elaine Arnott (left) and CCS's Mark Wigmore (right) are supporting Joe Fallen in his new job.

Mark Wigmore, of CCS, said the Mainstream Employment Programme subsidised wages for the first couple of years of employment to help people with disabilities gain sustainable employment.

"It makes it easier for employers to take on someone with a disability," Wigmore said.

"CCS is making placements for people with disabilities pretty regularly. It's all down to the motivation and determination from job seekers and that's what Joe has. His determination helped him get the job."

Elaine Arnott, who is the manager of Fallen's department, said Fallen was doing an excellent job operating a new machine in the factory.

"Joe used to come in every week and talk to [managing director] John Oskam about whether there was any work for him," Arnott said.

"John asked me if I had work Joe could do and we were able to employ him to operate the new machine which he's great at."

Fallen said he wanted to thank John and Frank Oskam, Elaine Arnott and CCS for their support.

When the Wanganui Chronicle spoke to Fallen last year, he had completed a half-marathon with the assistance of a sighted runner. Although he is not doing any running at present, Fallen is a regular walker and recently did a three-day tramp on Mt Taranaki with other visually impaired people.

He said he would like to ride the Otago Rail Trail on a tandem in the future.