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Workbridge, Where abilities equal employment

Selwyn Cook never had a specific policy of employing disabled people to work in his service stations, yet hired more than 70 people in three years through Workbridge.

“We are just looking for the best people possible for the roles and Workbridge keeps on sending us a whole stream of superstars,” says Selwyn.

Selwyn previously owned SSC Service Stations, which operated 14 Z service stations in the Waikato.

Workers hired by Selwyn ranged from administrative staff in the corporate office to forecourt workers and site leaders.

Many workers have been with the company for several years. Biju Thomas, who has the use of only one arm, won a Z Energy Heroes award for excellence in customer service.

Award helps prompt career change

Selwyn’s PA, Kim Smith, who is blind, was another Workbridge candidate. “A lot of employers don’t want to look past a disability, so it’s quite amazing to actually have an employer who is willing to work with my disability,” she says.

Selwyn’s commitment to working alongside his disabled employees to help them achieve their career aims won him the 2014 Attitude ACC Employer Award.

“The highlight of the evening was when a whole bunch of our people who have come to us through Workbridge came up onto the stage to join me. They had travelled up to Auckland secretly,” says Selwyn.

“That was a pretty special moment.”

In 2016, Selwyn won the Kiwibank New Zealand Local Hero Award for his efforts to improve workplace diversity.

Winning the award contributed to his decision to sell his service stations and join Workbridge as its national employer ambassador.

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