Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Good Intentions

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  • Craig Ranapia,

    On a related note, Dan Salmon’s documentary, Pictures of Susan – the story of autistic “outsider artist” Susan King – is playing at this year’s film festivals.

    Enormously fucked off this is the winner of the 2012 Irreconcilable Film Festival Scheduling Clash award. But one can hope that on the night TV3 is screening the broadcast version of Brother Number One in a non-graveyard slot (9.30pm), we might see more examples of FTA broadcasters getting that high quality local docos turn prime time lamestream into genuine mainstream.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11786 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Congratulations on a reasoned response Russell. Giving the fingers must have been awfully tempting.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2553 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Hebe,

    Congratulations on a reasoned response Russell. Giving the fingers must have been awfully tempting.

    I got myself introduced to Fairfax NZ CEO Allen Williams after the speeches, just so I didn’t walk away without saying anything. These guys want to do the right thing and they deserve to hear about what they’re getting wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    Most especially do not present disabled people as handy for “the jobs you don’t have time for – like cleaning out the coffee machine”

    Did someone actually say that?

    Since Jul 2008 • 123 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    These guys want to do the right thing

    That’s the frustration of many helpees; good intentions become top-down “this is how we are going to help you” edicts. What is needed is for the helper to ask the helpee; “What do you need? What do you want? How can we help?” That hierarchical way of helping is not badly intentioned, quite the reverse, but it is not the way to go about making a real difference.

    But the helpee often doesn't mean to be ungracious or ungrateful, and it's a hard thing to articulate. You've done well in this piece.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2553 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    disabled people as handy for "the jobs you don't have time for -- like cleaning out the coffee machine"

    I read this, and said a Bad Word. That's my daughter you're talking about.

    My son's been planning to have a Gap Year next year, and I can't help but worry that he won't be able to find work, knowing how dispiriting that is. The prospects for my daughter? So much worse than that.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4328 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Happy to be at your next meeting. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James W,

    Did someone actually say that?

    Um, yeah.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene,

    Disabled workers as overqualified Baldricks are very common. Deaf people with an undergrad degree have a slightly higher unemployment rate than Norms without one.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Tanya Black,

    Great response Russell, I too found the language and tone pitying, true their intentions are good. I know that New Zealand's involvement in Creative Spirit started with one person at Fairfax wanting to create an opportunity for someone who might not normally get a look in. I suggested to Annamarie that she take it further and encourage other creative or media agencies to do the same and rather than re-invent the wheel they decided to take Droga 5's lead and launch Creative Spirit in NZ. What the NZ chapter has over the Aussies is that they insist on a permanent position, preferably with a clear career path rather than 'a trial for a year'. And Emma who has been with Fairfax since the beginning of the year (and taking on more and more responsibility) told me she loves her job as an administrative assistant and that she thought when she left school she would ‘end up pushing trolleys.’
    However, if the intention is to raise expectations of what's possible then that video does more harm than good - showing Lloyd as a passive character, who contributes by bringing the ‘office stress levels down’ and making them feel good about themselves – hell he doesn’t get to speak until 9 minutes in!
    As for the CFO saying, “well it was fully funded so there was no financial consideration”… begs the question doesn’t it...
    Still we should celebrate that’s three more people employed and loving what they do – I for one know that you can’t put a price on that

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tanya Black,

    Thanks for joining the conversation, Tanya. Loved your recent John Kirwan episode, by the way.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tanya Black,

    “well it was fully funded so there was no financial consideration”

    Worth noting that for years the NZ government has been bribing state agencies to employ disabled people by fully subsidising their pay for a couple of years. We can guess how long many of the jobs lasted.

    That could have been used to fund broader understanding and workplace support for more people, but it has all been done with the best of intentions.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Taylor,

    In a former life, I ran a charity. I couldn't count the number of times "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" came to mind during that time. Sometimes it was hard to be polite and tactful in declining to the offers of "help", so shallow and thoughtless were they.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2012 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Agree with everything you say, Russell.

    By the way the Government's Mainstream supported employment programme has just been extended to the private sector, for organisations with more than 20 employees. Subsidised 100% the first year and less the second, with the idea it becomes a sustainable job. Can't find this level of detail on the msd website but here's an extract from the info letter just sent out:
    Also from July 2012 we are focusing on a target group of young people and graduates. We have piloted these changes in the Auckland Region during the past year, and can now roll them out to the rest of the country.
    The changes we are making are:
    1. Private sector organisations with 20 or more employees are now eligible for the Programme.
    2. We will be focusing on disabled young people aged 18 to 24 years, and graduates of any age.
    3. A Mainstream Internship programme will be available for 15 current tertiary students.
    While this change will increase the diversity of opportunities for candidates, we are still required to operate within the current budget. Expansion to the private sector will not necessarily increase the number of placements; however it will enable us to:
    1. Improve workplace matching. As part of the Job Proposal process we will be looking for evidence that the particular job and company is likely to be a sustainable option for the participant, i.e. that they will either have a good chance of being able to be employed at the end of the two-year placement, or that they will be able to learn and grow sufficiently in the job to significantly increase their chances of employment elsewhere.
    2. Focus on people with the greatest barriers, including youth with significant disabilities who need help to break into the workforce, and graduates who need help to gain positions where they can use their skills and knowledge.
    3. Be more selective about where we place people, ensuring that the needs and aspirations of the participants are the primary deciding factor, and we make placements with employers who will enable a focus on the participant’s Career Development Plan.

    Please see the website www.mainstream.msd.govt.nz for more information, especially about the eligibility criteria for employers.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    Worth noting that for years the NZ government has been bribing state agencies to employ disabled people by fully subsidising their pay for a couple of years. We can guess how long many of the jobs lasted.

    I remember a number of mostly young women losing their jobs in early childcare back in the early 90s when the requirement for some kind of formal qualification to work in that field was introduced. Prior to that their (mainly intellectual) disability benefit had been paid as an effective ongoing subsidy to their employers.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3327 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Tanya Black,

    Sing it sister xx

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    Mainstream is a basically good programme but poorly resourced and thinly spread. Very few real sustainable jobs seem to be created following the two year subsidy, leaving those who started with such high hopes very disappointed. You can only access the programme once, and there is not much else available. This new initiative seems to be spreading it even more thinly - and could cynically be interpreted as giving the private sector yet another way to take government money - without any guarantee of long term benefits for the disabled unemployed person.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2008 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    When I started training to be a teacher, in 1994, one of our year's intake was a young woman who had CP. She did her first practicum, and then left. In a sector which prides itself on inclusiveness - which in and of itself is somewhat of an obnoxious notion, in my opinion - this has always struck me as the crux of the matter. If everyone has the right to do a job, and that person is good at their job, then why do we keep on insisting on putting barriers in peoples' way? Why do we make it harder? Why, for example, do children with special needs (once again, not a term I like using) have an Education Support Worker who then takes them away to work with separately? Never understood that and we don't do that in our kindergarten.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Thanks Jackie, really appreciate that. While my experience of these things is highly personal, and therefore anecdotal, I know that it's often those who've had to deal with being 'different' who display a real aptitude for caring.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3327 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I'd politely observe that the rest of what you say contradicts your first sentence, which is my point. Scarce resources are wasted by subsidising salaries rather than other things that might get more disabled people into work or make the experience more valuable.

    Glad to see the programme now includes training for employers, but would welcome links to any evidence reviewing Mainstream's effectiveness or justifying its design.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    children with special needs (once again, not a term I like using)

    Let's stop then - options include disabled children, children with disabilities, or even 'children'.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    inclusiveness - which in and of itself is somewhat of an obnoxious notion, in my opinion

    I'd be interested in hearing more.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Well, in my opinion, if everyone is being catered for, then "inclusiveness" becomes moot. And the word itself implies exclusion.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    That's a valid critique. Are your professional circles discussing similarly?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16280 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark, in reply to Sacha,

    No, unfortunately, we're pretty radical in our views on what happens when a kid who might require a bit of support turns up.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3121 posts Report Reply

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