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Vision Employment Support Services - taking a holistic approach

When Michael O’Loughlin moved back to New Zealand from Australia following the death of his partner back in 2001, naturally he was feeling a bit down and out.

Despite this he was determined get his life back on track, with one of his main priorities being to return to the workforce.

By 2005 Michael had managed to achieve this, but due to chronic back pain, and being on strong medication for his epilepsy, was really struggling with his physically demanding job as a part-time service station attendant.

Eventually the physical demands of the job got too much, so Michael made the difficult decision to leave the job.

Desperate to find work in a field that was better suited to his needs and capabilities Michael started to make the rounds of employment agencies that catered to people with disabilities within Christchurch, before finding his way to Vision Employment Support Services.

It has now been eight years since Michael first enlisted the services of Vision Employment Support Services, something he describes as one of the best decisions of his life.

“Not only have I been employed in a job they found for me that best suited my needs and skills for the past eight years, but the dedication and support they have shown and continue to show me while I have been in this job has been so amazing.”

Initially Michael says he was fearful of taking on the job which sees him working from home as a computer assistance telephone interviewer as he was afraid no one would be there if things went wrong.

“However, that’s the great thing about the people at Vision Employment, as they talked me through my fears until I was able to overcome them. If ever I have a problem I know I can always ring them up for help or advice and if need be they will come straight round.”

Safe in the knowledge of this fact has meant Michael’s confidence levels have lifted which is not only reflected in his work but has also meant positive changes to his financial, social and physical health.

“It has really turned my life around and not just in relation to work, but other areas of my life as well. Mentally I am in so much of a better headspace which means I am now able to enjoy a stronger relationship with my family as well as some new found friends.

“I cannot recommend Vision Employment Support Services enough, because they really do go above and beyond.”

Michael is just one of the many satisfied clients who has benefited from the services of Christchurch based Vision Employment Support Services since it opened its doors 10 years ago.

Back then the Supported Employment service was staffed by three volunteers, whereas these days three full-time staff cater to the 75 clients they have on its books.

One thing that hasn’t changed since those early days though is the organisation’s commitment and dedication to their clients to ensure they not only gain employment but continue to feel supported in their role.

Service Manager Des Wesley says an important precursor to reaching these goals is the detailed personalised plan staff put together for their clients – which he describes as a holistic aid.

“It’s all about taking into account the person along with their environment and how this effects employment decisions. Once this is mapped out we then assess the strengths as well as their weaknesses so we can find the job that best fits.”

Des says the process of assessing their weaknesses was not about focussing on the negative rather it was used to ensure that a client wasn’t placed in employment that was beyond their skills and capabilities – which could set them up for failure.

Personalised plans were also constantly reassessed to ensure the client was always getting the best out of the service.

“We realise that over time a person’s goals and skills can change and grow and we want to make sure we are keeping up with these changes so we can ensure we are placing them in the best position for success – not just in the workplace but in other areas of their life as well,” Des says.

To find out more about Vision Employment Services and how they can help visit their website: www.visionemployment.org.nz

 

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Vision Employment Support Services - taking a holistic approach

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