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employment for skilled people with disabilities

I would like to see the next Labour government to draw up policy that will allow skilled disabled people achieve meaningful paid employment. In my experience of 27 years of living with a physical disability I have seen very few skilled disabled people achieve meaningful and paid employment. I can think of one disabled man that has achieved employment and this person has a university degree (from Massey) in Information Technology and works for an organisation that assists disabled people. I have a university degree (from Massey) in media, post primary teaching qualification and a diploma in te ara reo. A father of two adult offspring I am fortunate to be the recipient of NZ ACC earning related compensation but unfortunate to be previously married to an ambitious woman and Mother who abused my insecurity around the loss of a wife and family. Hence my personal situation was not helped by doing many hours of child minding. I confess to allowing this abuse to happen due to fear. Regardless of this abuse I have found it very hard to find meaningful paid employment and I have knocked on many doors. I did achieve part time employment as a publications officer at Palmerston North Boys' High between 2006 and 2009. I thoroughly enjoyed this role as it returned me back to the school system and interacting with young men within a school environment. However when the 'work-bridge' employment subsidy was removed, my role was disestablished in spite of the previous rector viewing the position as having merit, his board of trustees did not share this vision/view. In spite of being disappointed I accepted an opportunity to 'return to teaching' course offered by the Auckland university of Technology. This one year course involved 10 modules in a curriculum area of your choice. I chose English and history as my curriculum areas of choice. I achieved this one year return to teaching course yet when I approached a local high school offering part-time employment within these curriculum subjects. The principal concerned asked 'why would I employ someone like you when I can choose between many non disabled applicants?' This is the type of overt work place discrimination skilled disabled people face on a regular basis. I believe disabled people need to have genius type qualities before most employers will offer either full time or part-time paid employment to skilled disabled people. I accept that employers will be reluctant to offer some form of paid employment because their working environments will have to accommodate differences and overlook the possible variance in workplace performance. However I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives when employing skilled disabled people. Skilled disabled people will be vary wary of this and be very determined to hold down or capitalise on any work opportunity offered to them. I firmly believe this employment process within the Kiwi workplace needs to happen NOW. Therefore I call upon the next Labour government to draw up policy turning into laws which provide opportunities for skilled disabled people to achieve meaningful and paid employment. Michael Girling-Butcher. Palmerston North.

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