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2006 Mainstream Employer of the Year

The 2006 Mainstream Employer of the Year has been awarded to Landcare Research, Alexandra, State Services Minister Annette King has announced.

Former Mainstream Programme participant Trent Bell made the nomination, and the award panel said Landcare Research created a unique opportunity for Trent, which used his many skills and abilities, while eliminating any tasks made impossible by his deafness.

Landcare trusted Trent's "can do" attitude, and also supported his voluntary role with lizard reintroduction into their natural environment, a project for which Trent is becoming famous, the panel said.

Mainstream is a supported employment programme provided by the State Services Commission to people significantly disadvantaged by disability.

Ms King said the Mainstream Programme is a world leader in developing supported employment programmes. "This month marks the end of the 30th anniversary of the Mainstream programme. Over the past 30 years, the programme has provided employment support to more than 2000 New Zealanders who experience significant disability related issues.

"All of us know how important it is to work and how important that feeling of contributing is to our self-esteem and to our sense of belonging in our communities. That Mainstream has celebrated 30 years of bringing that feeling to those who experience significant disability is indeed a tremendous achievement.

"The Mainstream Programme plays a big role in delivering a key Government disability strategy --- fostering an aware and responsive Public Service. This objective fits with the recently launched Development Goals for the State Services. A key role for the State Services is promoting leadership and the development of State servants. Mainstream helps to promote the State Services as employer of choice for all through its support of workforce diversity," she said.

"I want to congratulate all those who have administered and/or participated in the Mainstream Programme over the past 30 years. The work that this programme has accomplished in that time, and the work that everyone involved in Mainstream continues to do, is the sort of achievement that we all aspire to when we enter public service. We want to serve the people of New Zealand and we want to make a difference. The Mainstream programme is a terrific example of how that can be done," Ms King said.

Other Mainstream awards were presented to:

Runner Up for Employer of the Year: Cullinane College, Wanganui, nominated by Mainstream participant Simon Aitken.

Merit winner for Employer of the Year: Upper Hutt College, nominated by Mainstream participant Ben Jones.

Merit winner for Employer of the Year: the Nelson/ Marlborough District Health Board, nominated by Mainstream participant Andrea Kepes.

Sue Willmore, from Poly EMP in Auckland, took top honours in the category of Mainstream Placement Specialist of the Year, for her work with Mainstream Programme participants.

The Accident Compensation Corporation Palmerston North, former Mainstream participant Philip Spring and former placement specialist Michelle Grey, were jointly presented with the Mainstream Kia Torutahi award – for their ongoing dedication to the principles and practice of supported employment within the State Services.

ENDS

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