HELL Pizza has announced that Active in HELL – its award-winning training initiative for youth with an intellectual disability – will continue in 2018 following its most successful year yet, which saw the 100th trainee enter the programme.
Earlier this year, Adrian Gordon became the 100th trainee to take part in Active in HELL (AIH), which was launched in 2013 in partnership with IHC’s IDEA Services. The paid training programme saw Adrian work 12 two-hour shifts at HELL Strathmore, learning everything from food safety to how to making pizza.
AIH was recognised at the 2016 Diversity Awards with the Diversability Award. HELL General manager Ben Cumming said that recognition and reaching the 100 mark is testament to the positive impact the programme has had on the lives of its participants and within the HELL network.
“Active in HELL has gone from strength to strength every year and we’re all really proud of what we’ve achieved. Our hope is always that trainees leave with greater confidence and useful skills that will help them find permanent employment,” he said. “Our goal is to reach 150 trainees in 2018.”
Nine AIH graduates have gone on to be offered permanent positions at the stores they trained at. HELL is currently working with IDEA Services and its franchisees to help make those opportunities more widely available.
“We’re looking to shift our focus, so that permanent employment becomes a more common outcome of the training. At the same time, we need to account for the flexibility that is often required in these cases,” said Cumming.
Krissy Gain, AIH national coordinator and supported employment coordinator at IDEA Services, described the programme as “groundbreaking”.
“The six-week training gives individuals with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to break into the labour market by engaging in a workplace environment,” she said. “The fact that HELL has committed to pay each and every trainee is outstanding, and I believe that HELL is the only company in New Zealand to offer an opportunity like this on such a scale.
“It’s also incredible to see the positive affects the training has. In addition to the workplace skills they develop, participants gain greater confidence, purpose and independence. I really can’t speak highly enough about this programme and it’s fantastic to have such a pioneering employer like HELL on board.”
Adrian started his training in October and said that he loved the experience.
“I learnt how to prepare the boxes, make dips, portion out ribs, chicken nibbles and sides, clean and sanitise my workspace and properly date products,” he said. “I enjoyed working with the team and really liked it when we pulled together to get the job done. The training also taught me other important things, like making sure my uniform is clean and getting to work on time.”
The 24-year-old was in good hands, as the Strathmore team has proven to be one of the programme’s strongest advocates.
“It’s fantastic to see how the programme has developed and what a success it has become,” said Strathmore store franchisee James Morgan-Watt, who was involved in the 2013 pilot programme. “As a franchisee, it is a great feel-good achievement for me to see the trainees graduate from the store, and it has benefited all of the team.”
Store manager Jordan Ritson said that Adrian is the third trainee he has worked with.
“He’s great, he comes in motivated to work and that enthusiasm is infectious. The other day, I was working alongside him and he looked at me and said ‘come on mate, we’ve got to get the job done’. Little things like that push you to work harder.”