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New Zealand Launch Of Disability Mentoring Day


New Zealand Launch Of Disability Mentoring Day

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, today officially opened New Zealand's first Disability Mentoring Day.

Disability Mentoring Day is a new initiative for the Commission's Mainstream Supported Employment Programme. The day brings together more than 30 students and public servants who share the experience of disability.

Mr Wintringham says the day provides an opportunity to promote career development for students with disabilities through job shadowing, with the mentoring assistance of public servants who themselves experience disability.

"The students spend part of the day visiting a Wellington-based State sector organisation that matches their interests and have one-on-one time with their volunteer mentors.

"It is a great opportunity to help these students make the sometimes difficult transition between education and employment. The day encourages them to evaluate their personal goals, target career skills for improvement and explore possible career paths in the State sector.

"Disability Mentoring Day provides State sector employers with an opportunity to meet possible future employees and learn more about the experience of disability.

The concept of Disability Mentoring Day, along with the provision of the Mainstream Programme, meets with the overriding objective of the Government's New Zealand Disability Strategy: to remove the barriers which prohibit participation by people with disabilities in the life of the community," Mr Wintringham said.

Disability Mentoring Day was founded as a national event in the United States in 1999 as part of a White House effort to increase the profile of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. The United States National Disability Mentoring Day now includes the participation of over 1,500 students and job-seekers and hundreds of public and private employers.

Support for New Zealand introduction of this event comes from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), who run the campaign nationally in the United States. Disability Mentoring Day New Zealand is featured on the AAPD website at http://www.aapd-dc.org/maincontent/international.html.

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