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ACC Congratulates Finalists In Attitude Awards


26 November 2008

ACC Congratulates Finalists In Attitude Awards

An ability to see past workers' disabilities to their superior abilities has put three New Zealand businesses in line for the inaugural Attitude Awards, sponsored by ACC.

The Attitude Awards are a new initiative developed to honour the outstanding achievements of New Zealanders living with disabilities. They will be announced on December 3 in Auckland, where a Supreme Winner will be congratulated along with other category winners. Among the categories is the Attitude ACC Employer Award, which has three finalists, from Auckland, Wellington and Southland.

ACC, through its National Serious Injury Service, handles the claims of over 4000 people who have disabilities as a result of being seriously injured.

"Most people – whether they have a disability or not – want to live an ordinary life. People want to be able to play a role in the community and have the independence of employment," said ACC Chief Executive Dr Jan White. "Living with a disability, or adjusting to living with a disability after illness or an injury can affect your career choices. With the support of employers, such as these three finalists, having a disability is no obstacle to that."

New Zealand, when compared to other countries, has a relatively low percentage of people with disabilities in the workforce. "Other countries have shown us that if employers are willing to make small adjustments and have the right outlook there is no barrier to hiring people with disabilities. Our workforce needs talented people and having a disability doesn't mean that you have anything less to offer than the non-disabled body beside you," said Dr White.

The businesses who are finalists for the awards include Wellington employer 4Dice Business Group. 4Dice Business Group is an independent company that services Eftpos terminals. It has a team of seven workers, all with disabilities, and the company regards its employees as the key to its success. Each employee has a workplan with future aspirations for work and life developments.

Bruce O'Halloran runs a bike repair business in Auckland called Adventure Cycles. He believes that everybody deserves the opportunity to develop skills so they can contribute to society. Adventure Cycles employs more than 20 people with disabilities along with a number of students and recent immigrants.

Southland business New Zealand Aluminium Smelters (NZAS) is the third finalist. Although a heavy industrial environment may not seem the obvious employer of people with disabilities, NZAS has found innovative ways of supporting its staff. It has created a strong relationship with Southland Enterprises Incorporated, which provides employment for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

"I look at these three employers and I hope they are able to inspire all New Zealand companies to think outside the square and not let disability be a barrier when they're employing staff. I wish all of the finalists the best of luck and I congratulate them for all they have achieved so far," said Dr White.

The winner of the ACC Employer Award, along with the other categories and the Attitude ACC Supreme Award, will be announced at a black tie event at the Sky City Convention Centre on December 3, coinciding with World Disability Day.

ENDS

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