Workbridge, Where abilities equal employment

Support from his employers and Workbridge enabled Gary Franklin to continue working in the job he loved after discovering he had multiple sclerosis. 

Gary was diagnosed 12 years ago, after spending 23 years working for the same company. Hattrick Services, which runs 16 Z service stations in Christchurch, was keen to retain Gary, who had been working in a management role.

Hattrick operations manager Anton Hutton says Gary is a highly valued member of the team. 

“Gary is our benchmark of work ethics. He does an amazing job all the time,” says Anton. 

“We have adapted a role to suit his needs and the funding he is eligible for through Workbridge has enabled us to do that without putting stress on any other staff.”

Accessing support funds 

Gary moved into a customer service role after his diagnosis. “My disability slows me down and I need to use a wheelchair to get to and from the car park, but standing behind the till and some shelf stocking is all manageable,” he says.  

“I just really enjoy all aspects of it, especially working with the customers and my colleagues.”

Workbridge administers support funds on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development. Support funds provide financial assistance to cover any additional work-related costs that arise as a direct consequence of a person’s disability. 

People can apply for support funds in relation to full time, part time, permanent or temporary work, and whether they are jobseekers or already in employment and in need of support to retain their job.  

The funding can be use in a wide range of areas, including:

  • workplace modifications
  • job coaching to help the disabled person to learn a new job
  • additional transport or parking costs
  • a support person
  • an allowance to cover any shortfalls in productivity related to the needs of a disabled person.

Finding the best people

Hattrick has recruited many of its 170 staff through Workbridge. 

“I recommend Workbridge to other employers at every opportunity,” says Anton. 

“When Workbridge ring up and say they have someone who would be good for our business, I know they will be worth interviewing. 

“We interview and recruit on the basis of selecting the best people, and a lot of the time they are from Workbridge.”

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