Birthday celebrations marking 80,000 lives changed are being held around the country.
The Salvation Army is celebrating 40 years of formal training and education by its Education and Employment service.
Since its official beginning in 1978 Education and Employment has helped over 80,000 New Zealanders, often those who were unable to get training or education through other providers or faced serious life challenges.
Education and Employment National Director Gregory Fortuin says the aim of the service and the reason it was still going went beyond providing training.
“It's not just about the academic qualifications or finding them a job. It's about transforming the whole person, restoring their confidence, their mana—their sense of self-worth. Their stories are why our staff get up every morning and why The Salvation Army has continued to get up and to do this work.”
Working with the unemployed has been part of The Salvation Army’s work since it began in New Zealand in 1883. It established the world’s first labour bureau in the United Kingdom in 1890, helping unemployed people find jobs, and started New Zealand’s first labour bureau a year later.
At a birthday celebration in Wellington, Minister for Employment Hon Willie Jackson praised the service for its work with those that others had often given up on.
“This is a commitment that is not celebrated enough— working with 80,000 plus people and 1000 people at any one time. I congratulate you on this wonderful work.”
Salvation Army Territorial Commander Commissioner Andy Westrupp says Education and Employment’s work reflected the heart of what The Salvation Army was about.
“80,000 lives is easy to roll off the tongue, but I know when I’m travelling and people come up and talk to me, they will talk about how they or someone they know was touched by Education and Employment. How something positive began to happen to them when someone from E&E and helped them.”
Hundreds of former pupils, staff, businesses and dignitaries celebrated at birthday parties around the North Island in October with more to come including Christchurch (8 November) and Oamaru (9 November), Gisborne and Whanganui, as regions heavily influenced by the service celebrate its success.
Issued on the Authority of Commissioner Andy Westrupp (Territorial Commander)
The Salvation Army, New Zealand Fiji, Tonga & Samoa Territory
For further details on the history of Education and Employment and its work, see: www.educationandemployment.org.nz/40years