Representatives from HELL dusted off their halos for the 19th Diversity Awards NZ Gala Dinner last week, where the pizza chain was presented with the Diversability Award for its Active in HELL training programme for intellectually disabled youth.
The Diversability Award is presented to businesses that use innovation to create employment opportunities for differently abled people, including those with physical and mental health conditions.
Through the Active in HELL (AIH) programme – jointly run with IHC – the Kiwi-owned business has hosted more than 30 intellectually disabled youth for six weeks of specialised paid training in its kitchens around the country.
HELL general manager Ben Cumming said that receiving the award was a proud moment for everyone at HELL, and testament to the company’s evolution.
“It’s funny to think that, five years ago, we probably wouldn’t have even been let through the doors at an event like this!
“Irreverence and innovation will always be at the heart of what HELL stands for, and the more people who can join in with that the better. Success for us is about good people – that’s where our focus lies, not on gimmicks involving robots or drones.”
Ben was quick to pay tribute to the hard work of HELL franchisees and employees across the country.
“This award is shared by everybody who has embraced the Active in HELL programme and put in the time and effort to give trainees a helping hand in finding permanent employment.”
Paid to learn
Comprising two two-hour sessions per week, AIH paid training covers everything from mandatory health and safety education to preparing food for sale.
Three AIH graduates have been offered permanent positions at HELL stores in Upper Hutt, Tauranga and Napier.
“Active in HELL is about giving these young people a chance in a commercial kitchen and exposing them to skills relevant for hospitality roles, including being paid. We’re looking forward to building on our progress and maximising its potential.”
Krissy Gain, supported employment coordinator for IHC’s IDEA Services and national coordinator of Active in HELL, described the programme as “an amazing and exciting opportunity”.
“Like any other teenager, those with an intellectual disability need some support to transition from school or college to the workforce,” said Krissy. “Participants also gain skills that many of us take for granted, such as time management, planning travel, keeping uniforms clean, and overall personal responsibility.”