The Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni, welcomed a Maxim Institute discussion paper this month, highlighting the connection between disability and poverty, and exploring how to help people with disabilities to thrive.
The Maxim Institute is an independent think tank, working to promote the dignity of every person in New Zealand, by standing for freedom, justice and compassion. The recent “Acknowledging Ability Discussion Paper” is the start of a project that will continue with a policy paper outlining more specific and detailed recommendations of how each sector of society can make a tangible difference.
Minister Sepuloni said, “Poverty is a major concern of this government and I am committed to ensuring people have access to every assistance available, and no one misses out. This report lays bare the challenges faced by the disabled community and yet seeks to be focussed on the solutions, to help inform how we can make concrete, tangible change.
We know that people with disabilities have less access to paid employment, lower income overall and higher costs of living. As a result they figure strongly in this country’s poverty figures and are often solely reliant on government assistance.
Seventy four per cent of people with disabilities who are not in work want to be working. They are denied the opportunity to use work as a pathway out of poverty, to personal fulfilment and more social participation. While there are already a number of work focussed supports in place, it is clear we need to closely examine what more we can do. I am working closely with MSD officials to look at options to improve the current system.”
Enrich+ have been providing support to people with disabilities, and mental illness for 27 years. Our own research has shown that a person with a disability:
– is more reliable with low rates of absenteeism
– requires few accommodations
– is motivated and loyal
– has a strong work ethic and is just as productive as other employees
The feedback we have had from the businesses that we partner with to provide paid employment to the people we support has been that skills and experience is not crucial and they desire people that are trustworthy, good listeners, reliable and team players.
Our team of Employment Brokers work with people from all walks of life, and know that having a disability does not mean that you cannot work. We focus on a person’s strengths and abilities, and the positive attributes that a person can bring to a business. If you are interested in finding out more, contact Enrich+ today – 0800 enrich or firstname.lastname@example.org
Every two years, Enrich+ asks for feedback from people using our services. This feedback helps us to continue to develop and improve what we are offering to disabled people. We have used an independent surveyor, Anne Wilkinson, to lead and facilitate our surveys which ensures greater objectivity, and this year 50 people that Enrich+ support participated.
Feedback highlighted some challenges with computer resources that we are looking into, as well as the people we support being able to transfer the skills they are developing at Enrich+ into their everyday lives. Where individuals are living in residential accommodation or at home Enrich+ want to work more closely with those supports to ensure skills learnt with us can be used in other areas of their lives.
Questions that received the highest percentage of positive responses included:
– are you able to practice your cultural and religious beliefs at Enrich+, such as karakia and waiata?
– do you think your cultural needs are respected?
– do you like the staff who work with you every day?
– do you think the staff talk to you in a way that is friendly, polite and respectful?
– are the activities you do in the community well organised?
The survey report commented that there is increased opportunity for people to learn about Māori culture and themselves, through the Cultural Ambassador Service and participants of this service get real huge pleasure and a sense of wellbeing from the engagement.
There were good scores given in the section on staff, showing that staff at Enrich+ are well liked by clients and are polite, friendly and respectful. Clients felt highly valued by Enrich+ staff.
Alongside the survey, there was an open discussion held with the parents of those attending Youth+, our facilitated group for 13-25 year olds with autism. The feedback from the parents was positive, including comments that:
– attending the group is teaching their youth social behaviours that they are able to use in other areas of their lives
– participants self-confidence has grown as they have learnt about social constructs that most people take for granted, such as irony and sarcasm
– youth are becoming more talkative with their peers, making more friends and sustaining relationships for longer
– the Youth+ programme provides the positivity and acceptance young people need
Some of the participants in the group travelled up to an hour to attend, which for Enrich+ is an endorsement of the outcomes being achieved by individuals at Youth+.
Overall there was an encouraging response to the survey questions indicating that the people we support are enjoying the services they receive with Enrich+, and the positive results being achieved.
This years IHC survey indicated that at a glance people with intellectual disabilities continue to face barriers to living good lives and the quality of people’s lives depends on where they live, individual circumstances like wealth and connections, and, too often, luck.
The IHC survey, conducted in July, attracted more than 650 online responses, with the majority from people with an intellectual disability and their whānau. People were asked questions relating to healthcare, the work force, money, education, being included, home and community life, being heard and fair systems with regards to accessing workable funding, support and services.
At a glance people with intellectual disabilities continue to face barriers to living good lives and the quality of people’s lives depends on where they live, individual circumstances like wealth and connections, and, too often, luck.
Three-quarters of respondents told IHC that they don’t get the right support to enter the workforce, and 80% felt adults were being shut out of employment. Enrich+ has a supported employment service committed to supporting people with disabilities find paid work. Our own research and feedback from employers makes it clear skills and experience are not the most important things for employers. Employers are however looking for people that are trustworthy, reliable, good listeners, and are team players.
For Enrich+, providing information and support to businesses about employing people with disabilities is important. Spending time with employers to understand the needs of their business and also knowing the skills and experience of the people we support means we can job match.
Being able to provide post-placement support also, for up to 12 months, is part of our service and may include:
– giving advice and tips on the type of support a person may need to learn the job
– on the job training for specific tasks and productivity coaching
– identifying natural workplace supports and providing co-workers with support to develop a relationship with their new colleague
People told the IHC survey that “work is better than being at home doing nothing”. People are motivated to work and Enrich+ can support you to find that great job!
This is a closed group for people with a disability, their whānau, and people who either work in the disability sector or provide personal support to people with disabilities.
Membership to the group is approved by the group administrators and people requesting membership may be asked the following questions:
– How did you find out about this group?
– What is your connection to the disabled community in Hamilton?
– What topics are of most interest to you?
To join the group search for ‘Hamilton Online Disability News’ on your Facebook page. You can also invite friends, family, colleagues or associates to join the group.
Wanaka wanted to take control of her life again following a struggle with health issues. Meeting Vanessa, an Employment Broker at Enrich+, Wanaka secured a role in telemarketing. This was a challenging role requiring self-motivation and confidence.
Vanessa spent time with Wanaka providing on the job coaching and focusing on building up Wanaka’s confidence, but eventually both agreed that telemarketing was not the right job role for Wanaka.
With goals re-evaluated to ensure she would get a job she would be happy in, it wasn’t long before Wanaka secured a job interview with an insurance broker. Wanaka was nervous about the interview. Vanessa talked Wanaka through some of the things that she was nervous about, and reminded her of her many skills, then off to the interview she went.
After the interview, Wanaka came in to the office and was very excited and proud to announce that she had secured the job on spot! She was amazed at how she not only enjoyed the interview process but how much she already knew about the position she was going for.
Sometimes all somebody needs is to believe in themselves and seize the opportunities. Enrich+ staff work with some incredible people, on their journeys to ‘a life like any other.”
Enrich+ were again proud to be part of the Waikato Wellbeing Show this year, with a stand at the show and several staff manning this over the 3 days to interact with members of the public and share about the many services we have to offer.
We also had a team of volunteers directing cars to parking wardens and collecting koha for parking at the gates. Starting at 9.30am on the first day of the show, the crew worked through to 2.30pm alongside the Hamilton City Cadet Unit. With lots of laughter intermingled with the serious business of collecting the koha, the volunteers also got free entry into the show as an acknowledgement of thanks.
Thoroughly enjoyed by the team there are already plans in place to put hands up for volunteering next year, and for all 3 days!
Another new exciting development for Enrich+ is being able to offer services in the Tauranga area. With a dedicated and committed member of staff in the area, Michelle Fokerd, will be supporting people into employment through ACC, supporting people to live independently (Supported Living Contract) and will be facilitating a Youth+ group for 16 – 25 year olds with autism. This service is $15 per person, per session.
Michelle has moved to Tauranga, having worked for Enrich+ since 2013 as a Facilitator in Taumarunui. In this role she supported people to be a part of their communities, through finding voluntary and paid work, finding leisure/creative opportunities, and through being a facilitator for the Enabling Good Lives Demonstration. Michelle knows Enrich+ vision, values and purpose well and is happy for you to contact her if you think she may be able to assist you to access the right service for you.
Most of us know that work is beneficial to people’s health and wellbeing and that long term work absence, work disability and unemployment generally have a negative impact on health and wellbeing. Well, this view has now been backed up by Australasian and international evidence, in ‘The Health Benefits of Good Work’.
Enrich+ has supported people into employment for 26 years now. The New Zealand Consensus Statement on the Health Benefits of Work acknowledge similar principles to those Enrich+ have followed;
– work is an effective means of reducing poverty and social exclusion. With appropriate support, many of those who have the potential to work, but are not currently working because of economic or social inequalities, illness or disability, can access the benefits of work
– Work practices, workplace culture, work-life balance, injury management programs and relationships within workplaces matter. People need to feel valued and supported in their work roles, and that also means taking into consideration their health, and wellbeing
– Individuals seeking to enter the workforce for the first time, or seeking to return to work after injury or illness, face a complex situation. Good outcomes are more likely when individuals understand the health benefits of work, and are empowered to take responsibility for their own situation
– Work must be safe so far as is reasonably practicable
In a series of news articles we will be exploring further the health benefits of working and how our Supported Employment team work with individuals and employers to make healthy work a reality.
Shem Hale has landed his dream job. He talks to the Piako Post about his exciting new work opportunity.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse visited Te Awamutu late July. As part of his visit, Minister Woodhouse had a tour of Manuka Health New Zealand, where individuals supported by Enrich+ are currently employed.
With the new Health and Safety At Work Act recently coming into force, the Minister observed individuals working, who have adopted Manuka Health’s health and safety practices. The Minister, who was accompanied by MP Barbara Kuriger and Enrich+ CEO Wendy Becker, discussed the mis-conception that disabled employees are a greater health and safety risk than employees without disabilities. He was made aware that strategies are developed to address related risks, and that most disabled workers did not require anything to be modified in their workplace.
Manuka Health established a partnership with Enrich+ six years ago, providing work experience opportunities and over the last four years, paid employment.
This information gathering report looks at the current learning and development activities available across New Zealand for the workforce supporting children and adults with autism through funding from Disability Support Services.
Contact our Worx team today…book a mow by 28 October 2016 and get your 10th mow free!
Ring 0800 367 424 today!
Prime Minister John Key visited the Waipa region earlier this year and spoke with people currently gaining work experience at Manuka Health in Te Awamutu. Enrich+ has over several years, supported a number of individuals to develop work skills, through a much valued partnership with the go ahead business, Manuka Heath. Enrich+ Service Manager Vanessa James shared with Mr Key the value of the experience to the people she works with. Outside of honing their understanding of what an employer is looking for in an employee, getting quality feedback on their work skills, and earning a real wage, the experience has helped prepare individuals for permanent employment. Seven of the people who have been through the Manuka Health experience have over the past year, have gained full time employment elsewhere.
Enrich+ staff recently went to Yogyakarta, Indonesia to offer employment training to disability workers. This trip followed on from an invitation and visit in 2014, to provide advice and assistance to Pusat Rehibilitasi Yakkum (PRY). The focus was on PRY supporting people with disabilities to get open employment. “The trip was arranged and supported by CBM NZ, an international aid agency that assists the poorest people living with disabilities” says Wendy Becker. “In Indonesia, only people with physical disabilities appear to be considered for vocational training, and those with intellectual disabilities or mental illness have very little chance of getting employment”, reports Grant Gardiner. There is very limited support for people with disabilities from the Indonesian Government, so PRY relies heavily on international aid agencies. Enrich+, with CBM’s financial assistance, were delighted to be able to support PRY to help staff to upskill in employment support. Grant Gardiner, Enrich+ Employment Team Leader and Emma Carreon, Service Leader Edge Employment, ran the training for the 25 PRY staff. Grant says “While there are significant cultural differences between NZ and Indonesia, we found there were also lots of similarities in relation to discrimination and the challenges of helping people with disabilities to find real employment. We also found our Indonesian colleagues shared a similar sense of humour, and a passion for the work, as we do. At the end of the day, I am sure we learnt as much as they did from our time together”.