Youth taking advantage of Hell
Aaron Norman wants to be a chef one day, but with little work experience his options are limited.
The 24-year-old, who has a mild intellectual disability, now hopes that will change after being one of the first people to complete Hell Pizza’s ‘Active in HELL’ programme.
Designed to support youths with intellectual disabilities and enhance their job prospects, the joint initiative between IHC’s Idea Services and Hell Pizza was launched in 2013.
In between volunteering at local charity Kiwi Community Assistance, Norman was the first person to complete the six-week programme which paid him to train in the Mana restaurant kitchen over two twohour sessions per week.
‘‘I applied for the role, then took that step to get my foot in the door. Working in the kitchen was a challenge, but it was a challenge I enjoyed. I was a little bit shy to begin with, but I enjoyed the teamwork and learning how to communicate with other staff in a commercial kitchen in a real-world environment.
‘‘I would recommend it to anyone else because it allows people with disabilities to do a job and prove to others that we can do this, to break those barriers.’’
Idea Services programme developer, Taani Lavulavu, watched Norman develop his independence throughout his time in the kitchen.
‘‘I have seen a real difference in Aaron’s confidence, not just in his ability to take on the challenge and thrive but also his desire to find more work. We wanted to give Aaron real-life work experience, so Hell’s was a good opportunity to kickstart other employment opportunities.
‘‘It was critical for Aaron to be a part of that journey, and now he’s going to be moving on from our services and into the community. And thanks to his new skills and confidence, he has more of a chance.’’
Aaron Norman is now looking forward to what the future has in store for him