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Supporting people into jobs - Kotahitanga - December 2020

18 November 2020.

Taumarunui father of five in full-time work

Sole parent Mathew McElroy had worked casual part-time hours at Awawhiti Cress for three years. His employment is now full-time thanks to Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work. Mathew's employers Carey and Ernie Wenn are very flexible which has allowed him to achieve balance with employment, family life and study towards a Level 3 Certificate in Horticulture.

Taumarunui Work Broker Briar Hickling organised for Carey and Ernie to take Mathew on full-time under Mana in Mahi. She says it’s been great watching Mathew’s progress. “It’s been amazing to witness Mathew’s passion for horticulture grow and also the follow-on effect, seeing his young family blossom too.”

Looking after five children is a full-time job in itself and while he has amazing support from his parents, Mathew says he is also deeply grateful for the support and flexibility his employers Carey and Ernie Wenn. “They have been fantastic!” says Mathew. “Now that I’m working full-time, it’s provided me that financial security for myself and my children. It’s allowing us opportunities to be able to do things we were never able to do before.”

Carey is an approved assessor and is nurturing Mathew’s study towards his Certificate in Horticulture. “Mana in Mahi has allowed Mathew to get this achievement,” says employer Carey. “He’s a really good worker.”

Regional Commissioner Gloria Campbell says it is great to see the positive impacts paid employment can have on a person and their family. “Mathew is a great match with employers who understand his situation and are prepared to support their employee to achieve. This is what programmes like Mana in Mahi aim to do. Success stories like Mathew’s are what motivates us every day.”

Tracey Spillane (Case Manager MSD), Mathew, his employer Carey Wenn and Briar Hickling (Work Broker MSD)

Mathew is seen above with from left to right: Tracey Spillane (Case Manager MSD), his employer Carey Wenn and Briar Hickling (Work Broker MSD)

Mathew checking the cress with employer Carey Wenn

Mathew checking the cress with employer Carey Wenn

Employment Service in Schools

Through the budget this year, MSD gained funding to expand the Employment Service – a service which supports people with disabilities and long-term health conditions into employment. The Ministry of Social Development is using this funding to create a pilot service with the Ministry of Education to help high school students with disabilities improve their employment outcomes.

Young disabled people face additional challenges when entering the employment market, many don’t have the work experience opportunities like their non-disabled peers and are often overlooked when applying for roles. The rate of disabled young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) was 34.9% in 2019, which is about four times the rate for non-disabled young people. Aside from being overlooked by employers, many young disabled people and their families and whānau do not even consider paid employment as an option when they leave school. Through the COVID-19 era, these statistics and expectations are only expected to get worse so having services which aim to improve employment and transition outcomes is very important.

The Employment Service in Schools service aims to address all these issues by providing work experience opportunities, work readiness skills, and exposure to employment and higher education pathways for students in their final two years of school.

This service has been created to provide an alternative to other MSD transition services for disabled rangatahi and has a focus on employment, giving them the skills, experience and confidence to engage in employment or employment related training as they complete their final two years of school and when they leave.

Through August we went to our contracted Employment Service Providers in Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and the Otago-Southern Regions to see if they wanted to take part in the new service. We had 34 applications, which we then narrowed down to 11 successful providers.

We are now in the process of creating stakeholder workshops which will take place in the new year to ensure the disabled rangatahi and their whānau are best helped by this service.

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with our colleagues in Education, our partners in the disability space and ensure our clients and wider MSD whānau can all improve the employment outcomes for the young disabled youth. Roll on Term 1 / February 2021 when this service takes flight!

New Privacy Act: 1 December 2020

Inside a MSD service centre

The new Privacy Act came into force on 1 Dec 2020. The rules are largely staying the same, so if your practices already fit within the law, you probably won’t notice much change. But, it’s a great opportunity to check you’re covering the basics.

For instance, you still need to:

  • provide clients with information about themselves if they ask for it.
  • make sure you’ve got a clear and lawful purpose for collecting personal information at all.
  • take care that personal information is right before you use it and you need to be careful about what you disclose, and to whom.
  • take reasonable care to keep personal information safe and secure.

However, there are some changes it’s worth thinking about carefully, because you might need to make some adjustments. In particular:

  • If you have a privacy breach (for instance, you lose personal information or send it to the wrong place, or someone hacks into your systems), you may well need to notify the Privacy Commissioner’s office and anyone whose information was affected. The Privacy Commissioner has a new online tool to help you called “Notify Us” – look out for it now on their website. And they’ll have guidance material about aspects of the new Act (including the new notification requirements) on their website too.
  • If the privacy breach involves information that MSD has sent you about our clients, please let us know what has happened at PrivacyOfficer@msd.govt.nz.
  • If you collect information from children or other vulnerable people, you need to take extra care to make sure you’re collecting that information fairly and you’re not being unreasonably intrusive.
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