NZDEN-Ringa Hora partnership to boost disability workforce

Helping workplaces and industry tap into the power of tāngata whaikaha (disabled people) is a major goal of a new partnership between Ringa Hora Services Workforce Development Council (WDC) and the New Zealand Disability Employment Network (NZDEN). 

The partnership will see Ringa Hora take a strong part through its role as an enabler and influencer of workforce development in Aotearoa by working with our industries to encourage greater inclusion of disabled and neurodiverse people in their workplace.  

It will help the partners’ joint goal of ensuring New Zealand organisations realise the true potential of disabled and neurodiverse people, to the benefit of everyone.  

Statistics show 24 percent of the New Zealand population identify as disabled. Though they are more than twice as likely as non-disabled people to be underemployed, their unique perspectives and skillsets in the workplace enhance overall productivity. Statistics also show disabled people are less likely to take sick leave than non-disabled people. 

By leveraging the expertise in both organisations, Ringa Hora and NZDEN will be aiming to develop innovative and inclusive practices that remove barriers for disabled and neurodiverse individuals. 

“We eagerly anticipate this alliance with Ringa Hora to bolster and champion the co-creation of disability inclusion and equality practices,” says Phil Turner, Chief Executive of NZDEN.  

“By uniting industry, tertiary education, and the disabled community, we aspire to cultivate a more inclusive society where everyone can thrive.” 

As part of having an empowered tier membership with the NZDEN, Ringa Hora will have access to NZDEN’s flagship Accessibility Tick programme, which provides member organisations with the tools and expertise they need to successfully employ disabled people, take advantage of their strengths, and deliver their services to all customers.

Ringa Hora as part of its agreement has also worked with its colleagues across five Ohu Ahumahi WDCs (Hanga-Aro-Rau, Muka Tangata, Toi Mai, Toitū te Waiora, and Waihanga Ara Rau) to be part of the NZDEN membership. This year, Ringa Hora is the major sponsor for the fourth New Zealand Disability Employers’ Network (NZDEN) ‘Disability Inclusive Pathways’ Conference, 6th-7th August, which presents an exceptional opportunity to gain insights from prominent disability in business experts, establish connections with other organisations dedicated to advancing disabled and neurodivergent career paths and outcomes, and fostering a truly disability confident and inclusive Aotearoa.

“I have seen the amazing influence that tāngata whaikaha can have in a workplace, both as an employee and an employer. Building workplaces that support people to achieve their aspirations and grow their potential has been a priority to me throughout my career,” Ringa Hora chief executive Kari Scrimshaw says. 

“Our tāngata whaikaha work is just getting started but I really can’t wait to see where we go over the next few months, with industries and with our own team to build understanding and action.” 

As part of the agreement, Ringa Hora will look at a human resources-focused micro-credential on disability and neurodiversity workplace inclusion in its role as a qualification developer for the Service sector. 

Ringa Hora will also use its expertise to help NZDEN in its connections with iwi Māori workplaces to promote better understandings of Māori tikanga, kawa and connections to tāngata whaikaha Māori.  

In ensuring industry are part of the solutions and drawing on the vast talent pool and potential available, Ringa Hora will be looking to engage industry in a series of sessions to help understand challenges and opportunities to support the current and future workforce.  If you are interested in participating, please reach out to Tuahu Watene, Tāngata Whaikaha Lead, Ringa Hora on email or cellphone 022 010 6350. 

Register for the conference now: