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Launch of Mainstream Programme 30th Anniversary Y

Friday 28 October 2005

Launch of Mainstream Programme 30th Anniversary Year

The State Services Commissioner, Mark Prebble today launched the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Mainstream Supported Employment Programme at an employers' event in Wellington.

Mark Prebble said it was 30 years ago - on 28 October 1975 - that the Government approved a limited scheme for the employment of 20 people with intellectual impairments within Public Service departments.

"Early Mainstream employers included the Ministry of Defence, Inland Revenue Department, the Courts, Social Welfare and the Education Department.

"By taking this step, New Zealand's Public Service led the way internationally towards new and greatly improved, employment practice for people who experience disability.

"What is now called 'supported employment' has become a distinct model recognised as good practice in vocational rehabilitation worldwide. Supported employment serves people significantly handicapped by the attitudes of others - who would once never have had the opportunity for real work, for real pay and for recognition", Mr Prebble said.

The purpose of the Mainstream Programme is to reduce welfare dependency and facilitate the eventual unsubsidised employment of people who experience significant disability. Research shows that up to five years after the completion of their Mainstream placements, 69% of programme
participants have gained and retained long-term employment on their own merits. More than 3,000 people have participated in the programme since its inception.

"SSC is taking a lead role in the development of people who work in the State Services and in promoting the State Services as an employer of choice. The Mainstream Programme helps to ensure the State Services reflects the diversity of the community it serves", Mark Prebble said.

ENDS


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