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Technology Leveraged To Assist Disabled New Zealanders

Technology Leveraged To Assist Disabled New Zealanders

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the lives of up to 3,500 New Zealanders with disability, injury or illness who are assisted into employment each year by Workbridge.

Workbridge is a nationwide professional employment agency for disabled people with all types of disability, injury and illness.

“Workbridge engages with employers all over the country to provide an individual recruitment service for people with disability, injury and illness,” said Workbridge Chief Executive, Grant Cleland.

“We employ 130 staff in 22 offices nationwide and they need mobility and connectivity in order to most effectively do their jobs. “

“We have partnered with Vodafone to analyse our business and to deliver innovative technology that increases the efficiency of our staff and their success in getting New Zealanders into the workforce,” he said.

Vodafone conducted a review of Workbridge technology and systems in 2013 and then commenced rolling out a range of products and services aimed at making Workbridge more agile and successful.

To date, that has included:
• Introduction of smart phones for employment consultants
• Replacement of traditional phone lines with an in-cloud hosted telephony solution
• Development of a framework to introduce Vodafone Video Conferencing, a cloud-based, managed service providing video connectivity to a high standard and with managed costs

“We are working with Workbridge to utilize video technology to bring employees, disabled jobseekers and employers closer together” said Graham Wood, Vodafone Key Account Manager.

“This is likely to increase uptake and improve the efficiency of each employment placement.

“Workbridge understands the potential to utilise technology to increase productivity, enhance effectiveness and to reduce down-time to meet their organisational goals,” he said.

Workbridge anticipates playing an increasingly important role in the New Zealand employment landscape.

“We have an ageing population and disability increases with age,” said Grant Cleland.

“Many New Zealand businesses are starting to recognise that trend and are actively considering opportunities to include disabled jobseekers in their workforce.

“The 2006 census showed that 75% of disabled people in the workforce only need flexibility in the workplace in order to contribute. Disabled people also tend to stay longer at jobs, be more loyal and have lower than average rates of absenteeism.”

“Overall, relatively small numbers need workplace supports such as specific equipment and workplace modifications. Workbridge administers Support Funds on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development to assist with these additional disability-related workplace support costs.”

“Our aim is to build a relationship with employers, where we can assist each workplace to become more confident to support their disabled staff.”

“We are also working with large employers such as Vodafone to access a broader range of jobs for disabled jobseekers.”

“Disabled people make great employees and we want to utilise technology to get that message into more and more New Zealand businesses,” he said.


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