Life is tough, isn’t it? I mean that in a realistic way and I will put a scenario out there…
Imagine if you had a stroke in your twenties or had a lifelong disability that prevented you from walking or talking like a regular individual? You might have enough energy to work a few hours a day. What does a fulfilling life look like?
Did you know?
- 1 in 5 working-age New Zealanders has a disability
- People living with a disability are three times less likely to be employed
- No two people with a disability are the same, each with their strengths and abilities
That’s where Choices NZ come into play. This week we chatted with Sophie Ward, who is the Regional Facilitator and is responsible for helping anyone with a disability to enter the workforce. She covers the top of the south region and spans into the Marlborough region.
It can be pretty scary stuff if you’ve endured a health journey and feel it’s time to step back into the hustle-bustle of everyday life. Where do you start? There are bills to pay and everyone is busy. You feel the prejudice – unfortunately it’s real… It requires a support
person to help you assimilate back into this – what we label the “normal world.”
“At Choices NZ, we are dedicated to ensuring people with disabilities and health needs enjoy fulfilling and independent lives. Choices NZ is all about choosing the assistance you want and the flexibility to control and change that assistance when you want to. You’ve got more choices than ever before, so make them with confidence and talk to us.” says Sophie.
Sophie works from an office in Tahunanui and loves working with people. Watching them step up and brave society is one of the many highlights of her job role. On the weekends she enjoys horse riding. Soon to be married, she is busy with her partner planning the wedding and raising 4 kids together.
“I was raised in Nelson and attended Waimea College. Since I left school, I have worked in the health care sector for over 17 years and love my job. Helping school aged individuals who have overcome massive obstacles to graduate. The next step is to find a job that utilises their talents and skills. It’s not easy, and I admire the courage these individuals display. It inspires me to work as hard as possible with the hope I can link them up with the right people who can see them flourish and support them on the next stage of the journey.”
Meet Lucy, she’s a beautiful person in her early twenties and was born with an intellectual disability. She can work for a few hours a day, which could be ideal for a local employer. It’s been her dream to work in a supermarket helping with online orders. Her smile is radiant, and her positive attitude shines brightly everywhere she goes. Lucy is a very capable young woman and has been helping out with cleaning and office tasks at Htek Heat pump Specialists in Nelson. She loves supplementing her supported living allowance so she can book weekend travel adventures and is looking forward to seeing Ed Sheeran perform in NZ.
We are looking for an employer to work with us to find suitable tasks for Lucy and others who like her, struggle to find an employer willing to give them a go. For some it may only need to be a few hours a week. Please get in touch if this sounds like you.
“There is funding available and I can help with that process. Also, I visit the workplace and make sure they are fitting in well and can assist with any fine-tuning if needed. We don’t walk away as soon as someone gets employed. We are there every step of the way to
ensure it’s a win/win for all parties.”
If you have a suitable job opportunity for someone like Lucy, please email Sophie.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be part of someone’s future?