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Rana Stephen is the parent of a young woman we are working alongside towards her goal of finding employment. Rana is the Business Development Manager at Spark,below you will find her passionate article published on Linkedin. (

"Every business needs to innovate to stay relevant. Consumers and Customers want new products, added value and new ideas.

So how to cultivate innovation? Having a diverse workforce is key. You need people of all cultures, genders, abilities and life experiences who can contribute perspectives.

Diversity, Innovation and Inclusion is Meaningless If People with Intellectual Disabilities Are Left Out, when building successful teams, we seek people of all abilities. In particular, I’m passionate about people living with a disability, and speaking from my very own personal experience I’m a mum with a beautiful and talented 20 years old Down-Syndrome Daughter, I help her and her peers to achieve there professional goals “And in turn, they are teaching me how I can influence and inspire others in my workplace and in my community to be more inclusive.”

I believe that everyone has the right to work and to feel included as valued members of society. However, finding employment is hard for people with disabilities, which greatly limits the choices they have in other areas of their lives.

This year I have had the pleasure of working with the PolyEmp team who support people with learning disabilities, PolyEmp Team provide an opportunity to help everyone to overcome barriers that people with disabilities can face in the workplace, and develop the talent and value they offer on different levels.

 PolyEmp vision is to create a community where young people with intellectual or learning disabilities are engaged in meaningful, paid employment in the same way as any other member of society

Today ask yourself, why exactly can’t we employ a person with a disability? Hiring people who live with disabilities isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for our business. will increase our workplace motivation, innovation and inclusive, will embrace our company values, culture, and much more.

So, what are you waiting for? If you are a hiring manager I would highly recommend you to talk to the PolyEmp team and give someone a go, to provide a job that will give the true purpose of Diversity, Innovation and Inclusion."

 Links below to part of a series. A wonderful employer from Stuff New Zealand:

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Abigail presented to the large group of people who came together for our Awards night. This is her story.

“Eighteen months ago, I started my very first paid job at PHD Media, which is a large advertising company for TV, Radio and internet and is located in Mount Eden.

When I finished Unitec in 2017, after completing a Certificate in Employment Skills, my goal was to get a job. Just before I left Unitec I was introduced to PolyEmp who were there to help me achieve this. After going to several job club sessions at PolyEmp, I was phoned to say there could be a job for me and I was asked to come for an interview at PHD Media. I remember feeling quite confident meeting my employer as they were friendly people and I had my Advisor from PolyEmp alongside me.

The good news was I go the job and I was so excited to be starting work in my dream job as an office assistant, working 4 hours a day from Monday to Friday.

Every morning I sort out the mail, restock the snack cupboard and the tea and coffee and milk in the kitchen. As well as that I keep the stationary room well stocked and tidy the IT cupboard and meeting rooms. I also help out in reception, put away countdown orders and stationary order (my favorite job) and stock up the beer and wine fridge. The P.R. team also call on me when some extra help is needed and I can be called on to make coffee for the clients.

One of my important jobs is to make appointments for the staff massages which we are very lucky to get at our work.

Recently I have done a Step by Step course which has given me new skills for my job. Over the last 3 months after work, I have been studying the NZQA Unitec standards and now I have achieved them.

Last week at my work we had our 20th Birthday Celebration and Awards Ceremony and I received an Award for PHD media employee of the year for courage and I got a $100 gift voucher.

I have become very independent getting to work and home again. I need to catch both a train and a bus which means I have had to get better at time management. Mum still thinks there is room for improvement. I sometimes find it tricky to work out what to wear each morning, as I have to dress smartly. I have also learnt how to check the weather on my phone, so that I choose the right clothes to wear. On the day I don’t take my rain jacket it is sure to rain.

I love working at PHD media because I love the jobs that I do, it’s fun and it’s the type of work environment I like to work in. My colleagues are very helpful and they always tell me I do an amazing job of keeping everything tidy and getting all of my tasks done in time. When I first started this job I has a list of tasks that I had to work through. I haven’t needed that for a while as I know what my jobs are and I get them done quickly, so that I can add more jobs to my day.

I always feel like I am a valuable member of my work family.”

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