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Disabled Persons Assembly Launches Employment Project In Waikato

Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) New Zealand is tackling the disproportionate rate of unemployment for disabled people by launching Mahi Tika – Equity in Employment, an employment programme to be trialed in the Waikato region.

There are approximately 290,000 people aged 15-64 with access, support, or health needs in New Zealand who are not currently in work.

Only 22% of disabled people are employed compared to 70% of the general population, while 74% of those disabled people who are not currently in work would like to have a job if one was available, according to the Government’s recently released Employment Action Plan ‘Working Matters’.

“Mahi Tika – Equity in Employment is specifically designed to increase employment opportunities for disabled people, who are significantly underrepresented in the workforce.” DPA Chief Executive Prudence Walker says.

“The programme is designed and led by disabled people, for disabled people who seek sustainable employment. It has been developed in partnership with Waikato Tainui and aligns with the Enabling Good Lives principles of mana enhancing and self determination.”

Prudence Walker says disabled people have a lot to offer employers.

“Disabled people are an untapped source of skills and talent and employers benefit from having a diverse workforce,” Ms Walker says.

“Mahi Tika – Equity in Employment will work on building relationships with local employers and industry partners to proactively develop inclusive workplaces and promote the employment of disabled people.

“The programme focuses on empowering disabled people in the Waikato region to be working or training in the industry of their choice while supporting them to become mentors to other disabled people, improving equity in the employment of disabled people.”

Mahi Tika – Equity in Employment is funded by Trust Waikato and Te Ara Mahi, a part of the Provincial Growth Fund focused on regional skills and employment development with the aim of getting local people into sustained local employment.

The programme was launched by the Minister for Disability Issues, Honourable Carmel Sepuloni and Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoreiro in Hamilton on 28 September.

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