Daniel Lewis is something of a first at the Tertiary Education Commission.
But if Sara Williams has her way, he certainly won’t be the last.
The TEC funds tertiary education in New Zealand, spending something like $3 billion annually to support universities, polytechnics, vocational training, apprenticeships and many other programmes.
But when it was boosting its work to support disabled learners and needed to hire someone with lived experience of what that actually means, the TEC turned to Workbridge.
And Workbridge put the Commission at ease, says Sara, a principal advisor who leads work programmes involving a number of equity groups in education.
She appreciated the “tailored support to identify what you need in a role, and then they have this big suite of candidates and they can really support you and the candidate through the process”.
That process brought them Daniel, who the TEC hired as a project administrator.
Interestingly, given the number of work areas where TEC and Workbridge are engaging, Sara believes he is the first person the TEC has employed through Workbridge.
But she doubts he will be the last.
“Dan is exceptional, a winning hire,” she said. “He had the kind of experience we wanted, the value system, but probably most importantly for us, he had the kind of character and attitude that would fit really well in our team and organisation.”
And she encourages other employers to take on disabled people and others facing various barriers to work.
“If you just go to the open job market very specific type of person, it is really tricky, and I felt Workbridge gave me the best chance of finding the person the team needed, rather than looking for a needle in a haystack.
“Then you get the added benefit of this other organisation who can support that person you’ve hired as needed, or offer you advice if you are struggling with anything.”