Published 29 September 2023
“There’s something special in helping people take charge of their own job search in a way that makes sense for them,” says Community Connections Employment Service Manager Emily Sheffield.
It’s known that having a job can give us a sense of purpose, which improves wellbeing and positive life outcomes. But preparing for and finding the right job can be a huge challenge. Enter Te Hāpori Āwhina Tāngata – Community Connections. This lower North Island based organisation plays a pivotal role in breaking down employment barriers for people with disabilities.
Finding a job is a unique experience for everyone. Community Connections' free service operates on the belief that every person deserves a fair chance to thrive in the workforce.
Your journey begins by either contacting Employment Connections yourself or getting referred. If you fit the eligibility criteria through the Ministry of Development (MSD), a support hui (meeting) is set up with an employment specialist.
You’ll talk about your goals, aspirations, comfort levels, worries and what you should expect. If you feel Community Connections is a good fit, they’ll inform MSD, and you’ll begin the job-seeking journey with them.
Employment specialists like Emily support eager job seekers every step of the way.
“Depending on what each person needs, we've got two areas in which we can offer support” Emily says.
“We’ve got the in-work support which is tailored around people that have a job already and need support to stay in that role or find something new. Then we have support for someone who’s finding a job, we can do this with customised
employment or in a more traditional way, everyone’s journey is individualised.”
Regular meetings are set up as part of the pre-employment plan, where we discuss who is accountable for what.
“This might be to do formal things like paperwork or interview prep, coaching or even working through some anxiety they have from being in the workplace,” Emily says.
According to Statistics New Zealand, only 45% of working-age disabled people are employed, compared with 83.1% of non-disabled working-age people.
“There are lots of people going into employment where they haven't told their employer what their barriers are. We’re still happy to work with you if that’s the case but, so we do encourage people to let their employers know, so the right support is available.”
In 2022, 90 people used the Community Connections employment services and nearly 50% of everyone who’s come to the team are now in sustainable employment. The other half are earlier in on the employment journey.
If you’re a keen jobseeker, you might want to consider reaching out to Community Connections. Their service supports people in Taranaki, Kāpiti, Wairarapa, Porirua, Hutt Valley, and Wellington.
Based in other areas of Aotearoa? Not to worry, there are more employment services for you. Check out the related pages or head to Employment » Firstport