Youth tak­ing ad­van­tage of Hell

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JAMES PAUL

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.’’

PHOTO: JAMES PAUL

Aaron Nor­man is now look­ing for­ward to what the fu­ture has in store for him

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