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More disabled people in supported employment

3 December 2004

More disabled people in supported employment

Government efforts to support disabled people in employment are paying off, Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson said today, on International Day of Disabled People (3 December).

“The number of disabled people in supported employment is expected to increase by 20 per cent this financial year - from 7500 to 9000,” Ruth Dyson said.

“The Mainstream supported employment programme in the public sector is also expanding. The programme has been successfully extended into schools this year, and there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of people with disabilities taking part overall. Research shows that more than two-thirds of people gain employment on merit and are still employed up to six years after the conclusion of their two-year Mainstream placements.”
Ruth Dyson said the increased participation of disabled people in employment was the focus of Pathways to Inclusion, the government’s vocational strategy for disabled people.

“Paid work increases people’s self-esteem, self-confidence, skill development, and standard of living. Employers also benefit from greater diversity and productivity in their workplaces.”

Ms Dyson said other government initiatives to assist disabled people into paid work included: introduction of legislation to ensure disabled people have the same employment rights and conditions as other New Zealanders; changes to Invalids Benefit rules to make it easier for disabled people to move into paid work; and changes to funding of vocational services which will mean disabled people will no longer have their Disability Allowance taken up by vocational service fees.

“International Day of Disabled People is a great opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made in the area of employment, and renew our efforts to create a fully inclusive society,” Ruth Dyson said.

Attached is a list of people in supported employment and local providers available for media interviews.

ENDS

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