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Conference Tackles Employment Problems

Labour Market Disadvantages People With Disabilities.

Media Release:

Conference Tackles Employment Problems

3 October 2003 For immediate release

New Zealand's labour market seriously disadvantages people with disabilities.

How this can be dealt with will be one of many topics discussed at the "On the Right Path" Conference to be held in Wellington from 7 - 10 October.

The conference is being organized by the NZ Federation of Vocational and Support Services (VASS), an umbrella group of organisations providing employment, training and support services for people with disabilities.

VASS President, Robyn Klos, says that while there has been a lot of discussion and action around problems facing young people in the employment market, there has been very little public attention given to the problems faced by those with disabilities, and in particular those with an intellectual disability.

"One of the biggest issues we face is the number of providers who are finding that they are unable to continue providing employment opportunities. There is a real fear that the present Government reforms in the sector, while soundly philosophically based, will in reality result in fewer jobs for an already disadvantaged group, and Government funding in no way reflects the true cost of providing the services," she says.

The NZ labour market issues will be the topic of a keynote address by Neil Lunt from Massey University. Other keynote speakers at the conference include overseas experts Tom Gibbons (Rochester Rehabilitation Centre, USA) and Sue Robertson (Edge Employment Solutions, Australia).

About 200 people are expected to attend the conference which opens at 3pm on Tuesday 7 October at the Michael Fowler Centre. The conference also features an Art Exhibition of 30 works contributed by clients from various vocational services around the country.

End


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