IHC Workability International Conference

IHC was proud to host Workability International’s Annual Conference in New Zealand. IHC and Workability have a shared commitment to equity in employment for people with disabilities at a community, national and international level.

The Make it Work Conference was held in Auckland, New Zealand in September 2016, at the SKYCITY Convention Centre and the Auckland Museum.

Make it Work highlighted the clear wellbeing and economic benefits for people with disabilities, communities and countries when all citizens are engaged in work that is paid or unpaid.

Despite these benefits people with disabilities across the world continue to experience barriers to employment perpetuating social and economic exclusion and disadvantage.

Employing people with disabilities matters:

  • For people it’s more than just a job - it’s about being valued, useful and included;
  • For business it’s about accessing diverse talent and a workforce that reflects the whole community;
  • For each country it’s about prosperity and linking the contributions and participation of all citizens - resulting in individual, economic and social returns.


Master of Ceremonies - Trish Grant and Michael Pulman



Trish Grant

Trish is currently the Director of Advocacy with IHC where her work is focused on increasing the recognition of and response to the rights of people with intellectual disability and their families through targeted political and systemic advocacy. Prior to this role Trish was Advocacy Manager at the office of the Children’s Commissioner, a secondary school teacher /counsellor and a social worker. Trish has a strong personal and professional commitment to social justice and human rights at the local and global level.

Michael Pulman

Michael Pulman is a 24-year old journalist, public speaker, and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

Michael works for CCS Disability Action Waikato as a Communications Coordinator as works part time as a sports journalist. Michael has had experience covering the All Blacks and has full media access to Super Rugby and the Mitre 10 Cup where he works at games as a reporter.

Michael has written about various disability issues for different publications. Some of the issues he has touched on are sexuality, government funding, special education, and the battles of living with mental illness. 

As a public speaker Michael has spoken at several key events in the disability sector during the last year, including CCS Disability Action's 80th Birthday Celebrations and the launch of Enabling Good Lives Waikato where he spoke alongside Robert Martin.

Michael is also a radio host and has his own talk show on Waikato’s Free FM every Friday afternoon.

Phil O’Reilly - Keynote Speaker


Phil O’Reilly, ONZM has operated at the pinnacle of public policy and business engagement in New Zealand and globally.

He is Chair of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) based in Paris and Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) based in Geneva.

As Chief Executive of BusinessNZ, New Zealand’s largest business advocacy group, representing thousands of businesses of all sizes, Phil developed long-term working relationships at all levels in the business community and created deep connections between local and global business. He has high-level experience working at the interface of government, business and communities, building collaborative alliances locally and globally.

Phil leads and builds consensus in highly complex and often pressured international, cross-cultural settings. He has a deep understanding of the process and value of strategic influencing.  He has first-hand knowledge of and engagement with the New Zealand political process and the people within it.

Phil is a respected leader in domestic and global employment relations and diversity issues. He is a member of the steering committee of the ILO Global Business and Disability network. He is a noted specialist on sustainability issues related to government and business, and regularly delivers speeches and presentations to a wide variety of New Zealand audiences.

In New Zealand he chaired the Green Growth Advisory Group and his membership of public and private advisory boards has included manufacturing, exports, tertiary education, trade, tax, retirement, R&D, innovation, employment, child poverty, health and safety, skills, government procurement and sustainable business.

In 2016 he was made an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit (ONZM).


Download presentation

Catalina Devandas Aguilar - Keynote Speaker


Ms. Catalina Devandas Aguilar (Costa Rica) is a lawyer by training and human rights advocate, who has worked extensively on disability issues at the national, regional and international level.

Before taking up her duties as first Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities on 1 December 2014, she was working as a Program Officer for Strategic Partnerships with the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund, and was formerly with the United Nations Secretariat unit responsible for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the World Bank as a consultant for the Disability and Inclusive Development team for Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Ms. Devandas Aguilar has previously served as a Board Member of the Latin American Network of Persons with Disabilities representing the region in the International Disability Alliance.

Her work has focused on the rights of women with disabilities and the rights of indigenous peoples with disabilities, and she has experience supporting capacity building and technical assistance projects with Governments, United Nations system actors, national human rights institutions, and organizations of persons with disabilities.


Download presentation

Brent Wilton - Keynote Speaker


Having trained as a labor lawyer in New Zealand, Brent has spent the last 28 years representing companies and their representative organizations across a range of labor and human rights issues in countries around the world.  

Prior to joining Coca-Cola as Director of Global Workplace Rights in April of 2015, for the last 15 years, Brent has been based in Switzerland with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) representing the interests of business in 150 countries on global labor and social policy matters across the UN and wider multilateral system, particularly within the International Labor Organization.  As a result, Brent has directly engaged with Global Union Federations, NGO's, Governments, other stakeholders and opinion makers in the negotiation and resolution of issues.  

In particular, Brent was engaged from the outset in the stakeholder discussions that led to the creation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, working closely with Professor John Ruggie and his team, and more recently with the UN Human Rights Working Group on their follow up to the implementation of the Principles. Brent also served on the Board of the UN Global Compact in his last role as IOE Secretary General and was co-chair of their multi-stakeholder Labor and Human Rights Working Group.

Steve Shepherd - Keynote Speaker


Steve Shepherd is one of the regions most experienced Employment and HR Services executives having spent 30 years working across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. 

He is an Employment Market Analyst and helps companies and individuals to understand the future of work and the opportunities and challenges that creates for them. 

Steve was the Asia Pacific Director of Public and Social Affairs for Randstad a world leader in HR services. He is now the CEO of TwoPointZero, a specialist career coaching business. TwoPointZero helps people to find their career passions and develop the skills and insights they need to find careers they desire and secure their future happiness.

Steve is the former President of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association of Australia and New Zealand, a former Board Member of the International Confederation of Private Employment Agents, and a member of the Australian Futures Society.


Download presentation

Speaker Sessions

We were priviledged to have a high calibre of speakers for the IHC Workability Conference from New Zealand and abroad.


Inclusion Isn't an Action It's an Attitude and Domino's Pizza, Rolleston Have Slices Worth of It

Michael Aldridge and Janet Doughty, People First.

Michael has had many roles at People First NZ including Top of the South region President and National Chairperson. He has represented People First NZ on national advisory committees and is an experienced presenter at conferences in New Zealand and Internationally.

Janet has been working with people with learning disability for over 20 years. Janet started with People First in 2004 and has held a number of roles for the organisation. Janet was the Project Manager for this piece of work and is currently the national Funding Manager.


Download presentation

Employment not Welfare

Sally Powell and Marnie Brokenshire, Bedford Group.

Sally Powell joined Bedford in 2003, and in September 2011 became the first female Chief Executive. Marnie Brokenshire joined Bedford in 2015 and is responsible for employment, client services, human resources, industrial relations, risk and quality assurance.

The Bedford Group provides vocational and non-vocational activities for people with disability including supported employment, training, day options and accommodation support services. Bedford provides services to more than 2000 people with disability across metropolitan and regional South Australia and New South Wales. The Bedford Group is the second largest disability employer in Australia. 


Download presentation

Working Together for Better Employment Opportunities and Outcomes

Tess Casey, Inclusive New Zealand and Grant Cleland, Workbridge

Tess is the CEO of Inclusive NZ, a federation of organisations and individuals supporting disabled people into employment and to participate in their communities. Tess represents Inclusive NZ on several government advisory groups and also leads Inclusive NZ’s social enterprise, One Fish Solutions.

Grant Cleland is the Chief Executive of Workbridge. He has over 25 years’ experience working in the disability field. Grant is also the Chairperson of the Disability Employment Forum (DEF). This consists of disabled people, Disabled Person Organisations (DPOs) and various agencies working and advocating in the Disability Employment Space.


Download presentation

ACTIVE IN HELL: Providing Paid Training Experiences to Youth with Intellectual Disabilities

Kristyn Gain, IDEA Services and Janiece Pollock.

Kristyn Gain is a Supported Employment Coordinator with IDEA Services (IHC New Zealand). She has worked in the field of disability services for more than seven years after graduating from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada with a Bachelor of Applied Sciences in Child, Youth and Family in 2010. Kristyn believes that everyone has the right to meaningful employment.

Janiece undertook training through the Active in Hell programme and now works part time at Hell Pizza in Upper Hutt. She holds a Food Safety Certificate (Unit Standard 167) and has completed her St John’s First Aid Training. Janiece is seeking further work in the hospitality industry and is working towards becoming financially independent so she can move out of home.


Download presentation

The "Forgotten Learners" The Plight of Tertiary Learners with an Intellecutal Disabiliy: An Opportunity for Provider Partnerships

John Grant, Skillwise.

John Grant has been General Manager at SkillWise since 2005. SkillWise is an NGO providing a range of support and training options for adults with an intellectual disability. This improves social inclusion in a variety of ways, including through employment. He has been Chair of Inclusive NZ, an umbrella organisation of disability providers, since 2009. John sits on several government advisory groups and previously lectured at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, teaching disability theory, policy and support practices.


Download presentation

Cross-community collaboration: local solutions to employment and health support in Islington, London

Tom Hicks leads Remploy’s policy development and political engagement in the UK and Europe, engaging with government and disability stakeholders on a wide range of issues relating to disability, employment and skills. He has spoken at a number of seminars and conferences on innovation in operational delivery, and sat on a Ministerial Steering Group on employer engagement. Prior to joining Remploy, Tom worked at the UK Parliament. He has an honours degree in Government from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Download presentation

Supporting Autistic Individuals Successfully into Self Employment

Gabrielle Hogg runs her own presenting business called Autismo Girl, where she presents on Autism and other topics. She sits on the Steering Group Committee for Auckland Disability Law, is a Health Consumer Representative for Waitemata District Health Board, and is a panel member with Blind Foundation doing website accessible testing from home. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in Human Nutrition and is a part time Augumentive, Alternative Communication user.

Gabrielle is an autistic self-advocate with mild intellectual disability, Sensory Processing Disorder, Irlen Syndrome, and ADHD.


Download presentation

Self-employment: A Successful model of Poverty Elevation for Person with Disabilities in Bangladesh

Dr Shamim Ferdous, Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation.

Dr Shamim Ferdous has been working for BPF, a non-government and non-political organization working for children with disabilities and disadvantage since 1987. Dr Ferdous runs the Income Generating Programme Inclusive Employment, and the Child Protection programme. She is a member of Workability Asia; Workability-International; Asia Oceania Child Neurology; South Asian Violence against Children; Bangladesh Society for Child Neurology, Development and Disability; Bangladesh Paediatric Association; and the Child Rights Governance Assembly.


Download presentation

Identifying Talent Through a Unique Matching Method

Albin Falkmer and Monica Hoglind, Samhall.

Albin Falkmer has experience of combatting social exclusion in both the public and the private sector. He has served as the Chief of Staff of the Swedish Ministry for Employment, political adviser to the minister for employment, and adviser in rehabilitation, social insurances and pension policies to the Swedish parliament.

Monica Höglind has held top management positions in the Swedish business sector for more than 30 years. She was Director of Human Resources at pharmacy chain Apoteket AB, is a board member of the employers’ organization for the Swedish service sector and was appointed Sweden’s best Director of Human Resources in 2012.


Download presentation

Exploring the idea of anonymous recruiting

David Hollander, Jackson Stone.

David specialises in the executive search and recruitment of Chief Executive Officers, general managers, directors and human resources professionals. This includes roles in not-for-profit and private sectors, as well as in central government.

David has a strong interest in the social and community sectors and has also held various positions outside of the recruitment industry.


Community Based Disability Employment Promotion for Sustainable Livelihood

Rama Perumal founded SINAM in 1986. He is a Director and member of the Executive Committee of the organisation, and is responsible for the organisation’s funding and reporting to the government. He has received four awards for his work with the disabled.


Download presentation

Social Franchise (Resistance is Futile)

Martin Reddy and Katja Zajko, RECOSI.

Martin has worked in the area of ICT recycling and reuse for more than 25 years. He has developed multiple social enterprises throughout Europe, which continue to employ more than 500 people, half of whom are people with disabilities.


Download presentation

The importance of selling a socially responsible brand and the impact of positive and negative media on reputation and profit

Gina Rogers is the National Manager Communications for IHC New Zealand (including its subsidiaries IDEA Services and Accessible Properties) and previously worked in communications for two government agencies. She specialises in media relations as is a qualified broadcast journalist by trade. She has worked as a journalist, producer or programme editor for organisations including BBC World in the UK and Radio New Zealand.


Download presentation

Employment that works: Innovation for recovery, reform and outcomes

Pamela Rutledge, Flourish Group.

Pamela Rutledge is the CEO of Flourish Australia a leading not-for-profit organisation providing community based support and employment for people living with a mental health issue in NSW and South-East Queensland. 

In her early career, Pam worked as a Social Worker in front-line mental health service delivery, and was the Executive Officer of the Richmond Inquiry. Before joining the not-for-profit sector in 2009, Pam had over 35 years experience in senior roles in the NSW government, including experience in health, housing, and ageing and disability. 

Pam’s particular interests are the maintenance of high performing organisations through periods of massive change, co-design with people with a personal lived experience, the growth of social enterprises and the growth and development of the consumer and peer workforce. 


Download presentation

Strengthening Inclusion and Modernising Learning Support

Ezra Schuster is the Director of Education for Bay of Plenty-Waiariki. A senior leadership role with the Ministry of Education for one of the most culturally and socially diverse regions of New Zealand. Ezra has held several roles with the Ministry including leading the implementation of the Pasifika Education Plan, international development work across the Pacific for children with special needs, strengthening inclusive practice in schools as well as taking a lead on several interagency projects and initiatives. He has a real interest in leadership development and diversity management, and is involved in the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue (EPLD) as well as the Emerging Leaders Dialogue with partner countries Canada, Australia, UK, Malaysia and other Pacific countries. 

He has a Master of Education Management and Leadership and has been on several advisory groups in the Non-Government Organisation (NGO) sector. Ezra’s real passion is education and the potential that it has to transform lives and make a positive difference for all, especially our most vulnerable. He describes his important role though as a husband to his wife Rachel and father to their 5 children who range from 4 to 12 years.

Download presentation

Workbridge and Z Energy Partnership: Good for business, customers, communities and New Zealand

Selwyn Cook, Workbridge Employer Ambassador and Grant Cleland, Workbridge

Selwyn Cook is the Workbridge Employer Ambassador, a new role created in partnership with Z Energy to help employers across New Zealand to create more opportunities for people with disabilities. He comes from a business background having been a Z Energy retailer in the Waikato region. He is also a winner of this year’s Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year award.

Grant Cleland is the Chief Executive of Workbridge. He has over 25 years’ experience working in the disability field. Grant is also the Chairperson of the Disability Employment Forum (DEF). This consists of disabled people, Disabled Person Organisations (DPOs) and various agencies working and advocating in the Disability Employment Space.


Download presentation

From sheltered workshops to human rights: transition tensions [Oral presentation - Theme: Employment Not Welfare]

Dr Hilary Stace has learned about disability issues as a result of caring and advocating for her son for the last 30 years. Her 2011 PhD looked at public policy around autism, and why it is so hard to get it right. Her research includes looking at the history of IHC. Her family has extensive experience with supported and precarious employment, including dealing with Work and Income’.


Download presentation