A third cohort of Kilmarnock ākonga (learners) has completed a Level 2 qualification in Food and Work Safety Practices and been celebrated with a special ceremony at the Ara city campus.

The formal training course taught and assessed four unit standards in food safety, contamination management, cleaning, and safe work practices. The learners were also assessed on their customer service skills during a sausage sizzle practical.

Kilmarnock Enterprises developed the course through our training partnership with Ara | Te Pūkenga. Tutors from Ara | Te Pūkenga taught the learners on-site at Kilmarnock for two hours a week over seventeen weeks. To make learning accessible for our ākonga, the course included traditional classroom and practical learning techniques. Class trips to Original Foods Baking Company and Good Honest Products were highlights for our ākonga, providing insight into the real-world application of their studies.

This is our final cohort of ākonga completing the Food and Work Safety Practises course. However, we will work closely with Ara | Te Pūkenga to collaborate on a new training course for Kilmarnock employees. We hope to launch the new course in the coming months. 

Our formal training programme is part of the Employment Pathway Programme, our dedicated development pathway for Kiwis with intellectual disabilities. The Employment Pathway Programme empowers people with intellectual disabilities to lead rewarding, self-determined lives through meaningful employment, health and wellbeing support, formal training and more. Learn more about the Employment Pathway Programme here.

We’re so pleased to share our partnership with Hōhepa Canterbury!

As the Christchurch supplier of Will&Able products, Kilmarnock Enterprises is proud to supply Hōhepa Canterbury’s community facilities and network of more than seventy houses with our range of social purpose-led eco-cleaning products.

Our two organisations have a clear and natural alignment. Hōhepa Canterbury, the Canterbury division of Hōhepa, provides a variety of services, including supported and independent living, social therapies, arts and crafts, social outings and more, designed to empower people with intellectual disabilities to live rewarding and connected lives. While at Kilmarnock Enterprises, we’re proud to support people with intellectual disabilities in building diverse skill sets, growing in confidence, and developing autonomy through our pioneering Employment Pathways Programme (EPP).

One of the most exciting aspects of our partnership is the creation of a dedicated Will&Able stock manager role at Hōhepa Canterbury. Georgie is supported at Hōhepa Canterbury and works one morning a week in their dedicated Will&Able stockroom, picking and dispatching product orders for all of Hōhepa Canterbury’s houses. When products run low, Georgie and her support worker visit us to restock and return empty containers so our team can clean and fill them for reuse.

On a recent trip to Kilmarnock, Georgie took a tour of our factory and visited our dedicated Will&Able room. She met one of our outstanding Will&Able team members, Tristan (pictured with Georgie above), and learnt more about the work that takes place behind the scenes to produce the Will&Able products she works with at Hōhepa Canterbury.

We’re delighted to be partnering with Hōhepa Canterbury to create real social impact and bring our communities closer together.

We were delighted to host the new Minister for Disability Issues, Hon. Penny Simmonds at Kilmarnock Enterprises on Friday.

Minister Simmonds has made engagement with Aotearoa Disability Enterprises (ADE), the representative body for disability enterprises in Aotearoa, of which Kilmarnock is a member, a priority since her appointment to the Disability Issues portfolio following last year’s election.

Our conversations with the Minister were incredibly productive, and she has expressed her support for our work and her commitment to seeking solutions to reduce the challenges and constraints Kilmarnock and our fellow ADE members face.

We look forward to working closely with the minister and the government to maximise the employment and development opportunities we can create for people with intellectual disabilities in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

Originally published by Ara|Te Pūkenga

The latest cohort of Kilmarnock Enterprises Academy Programme employees to achieve work-based learning credits have been celebrated at Ara |Te Pūkenga.

The ākonga (students) who completed their Level 2 Food and Work Safety Practices programme in the workplace were awarded certificates in Foundation Studies at an event held at Visions restaurant at Ara’s City campus.

Kilmarnock Enterprises is an Ōtautahi-based social enterprise creating employment and development pathways for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The partnership between its academy and Ara, which ran for the first time earlier this year, involves a programme of New Zealand Qualifications Framework study for employees for two hours a week over 17 weeks.

The aim of the study was to ‘develop a series of food and work safety skills to enable the students to carry out tasks effectively and efficiently within work environments’.

Kilmarnock Enterprises Chief Executive Michael Toothill said the course had been designed to be accessible and rewarding for ākonga. “The course tutors have tailored its delivery to include significant hands-on and visual learning opportunities, capturing already held skills and knowledge and supporting a great learning experience for all.”

“This is a new approach provides people with an intellectual disability with a clear and tangible pathway in employment, training and development,” he said. “We’re incredibly proud of our learners for their hard work, and we’re grateful for this partnership offering exciting and fulfilling formal training opportunities our employees.”

Ryan Marshall, Manager Cookery and Bakery in Ara’s Department of Hospitality, Business and Service Industries said the students had applied themselves with enthusiasm to achieve academically and gain valuable life skills.

“It’s great to celebrate an incredible group of individuals who’ve shown tremendous courage, growth, determination and resilience on their path to education and personal growth,” he said.

He added that it was rewarding to see the programme come to life and become established in the space of 12 months thanks to the vision and determination of all those involved, including tutors and learning advisors Dave Spice, Katie Howie, Bill Bryce and Arnya Watson.

Foundation Certificate recipient Tania McClure wrote and presented her personal thoughts about the learning to the friends, whānau, kaiako (teachers) and work colleagues gathered at the certificate ceremony. “I fully enjoyed the course,” she said. “It was lots of fun. I learned lots of words and learned to cook food with the temperature gauge.”

Speaking afterwards, she explained that the knowledge she had gained was not only useful at work but also in her homelife where she enjoyed cooking a wide range of meals.

With the next cohort already fully subscribed for 2024, the foundations are strong for the continuation of this bespoke work-based Foundation Studies offering.

Our E-Waste Recycling operation was recently featured in a MetroNews report about waste and recycling in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Due to the accelerated rate of innovation in consumer electronics, E-Waste is becoming a significant issue globally. As consumer and business electronics become obsolete at an increasingly rapid rate, the volume of surplus-to-needs electronics, known as E-Waste, is growing sharply.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of E-Waste is not recycled but instead sent to landfills. Incorrectly processed E-Waste threatens both people and the environment due to the potential release of toxic chemicals. Alarmingly, in 2020, only 2% of the 80,000 tonnes of E-Waste produced in Aotearoa New Zealand was recycled (RNZ).

Kilmarnock Enterprises is proud to offer a socially and environmentally sustainable solution to Aotearoa New Zealand’s E-Waste dilemma. When your organisation partners with Kilmarnock to manage your E-Waste, you ensure your electronics are handled and recycled responsibly. You’re also supporting meaningful employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.

We’re pleased to share some exciting changes to the Kilmarnock Enterprises Trust!

Earlier this year, the Kilmarnock Trust embarked on a recruitment drive, seeking to appoint several new trustees from across the community. We are excited to announce the appointment of three distinguished new trustees with significant experience and diverse skills: Pollyanne Peña, Rachelle Mathews and Stuart Roberts.

Pollyanne Pena joins us with a wealth of experience in the non-profit sector, spending the last ten years in community engagement and fundraising roles with cause-led organisations across Aotearoa. Pollyanne currently serves as the Community Engagement Lead for the Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust.

Rachelle Mathews brings her extensive marketing, communications and education expertise to the Kilmarnock Trust. Rachelle has worked to raise the profile of a diverse range of organisations and institutions, including St Margaret’s College. Currently, she holds the role of Marketing and Communications Manager at Medbury Preparatory School.

Stuart Roberts joins the Kilmarnock Trust with over 25 years experience in financial markets. He is currently a Director and Wealth Management Adviser for Jarden in Ōtautahi. Prior to his role at Jarden, Stuart worked for several prominent financial and banking firms, including ANZ and AMP.

We are excited to welcome our new and talented trustees onboard, and we look forward to working alongside the Kilmarnock Trust to connect with our community and raise funds for our innovative Kilmarnock Academy Programme.

Kilmarnock Enterprises would also like to acknowledge the recent departure of two former members of the Kilmarnock Trust, David Lowe and Andrew Gray. We are deeply grateful for David and Andrew’s contributions to the work of the Kilmarnock Trust.

Kilmarnock Enterprises was pleased to host the Minister of Disability Issues, Hon. Priyanca Radhakrishnan, recently. The visit marked the first by Minister Radhakrishnan to an Aotearoa Disability Enterprises (ADE) group organisation following her appointment as Minister of Disability Issues earlier this year. Aotearoa Disability Enterprises (ADE) is a collective formed by nine disability enterprises operating across Aotearoa, New Zealand. ADE works to advocate for disability enterprises and the Kiwis with intellectual disabilities they create purposeful employment opportunities for.

During her visit, the Minister participated in a factory tour, visiting each of Kilmarnock’s working areas. Throughout the tour, Minister Radhakrishnan was shown the specialised processes used at Kilmarnock to ensure work is accessible for a broad range of skill and ability levels. The Minister also had the opportunity to meet several employees to discuss the positive impact their work at Kilmarnock has on their lives.

Following her tour of Kilmarnock’s expansive premises, Minister Radhakrishnan met with Kilmarnock Enterprises CEO and ADE Secretary Michael Toothill. The Minister and Mr Toothill engaged in a robust and productive conversation around the replacement of the Minimum Wage Exemption Permit (MWEP). Mr Toothill expressed that the ADE group supports evolution in the sector but is concerned that the proposed replacement scheme could impact disability enterprises’ ability to continue providing purposeful employment for Kiwis with intellectual disabilities. He stressed that it is critical the proposed replacement for the MWEP does not negatively impact workers with intellectual disabilities or the organisations creating employment opportunities for them. Minister Radhakrishnan heard the ADE’s concerns and recognised the importance of ADE’s active involvement in the design and implementation of the replacement scheme.

Kilmarnock Enterprises and the ADE group were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Minister Radhakrishnan and look forward to working closely with the Government to support and empower Kiwis with intellectual disabilities.

Learn more about Aotearoa Disability Enterprises (ADE) on our website here

Will&Able Bulk, a Kilmarnock initiative, has been selected as a Delivering For Good finalist for 2023 by NZ Post. As one of the twelve charitable organisations chosen as finalists, Will&Able Bulk will receive one year of free courier delivery services courtesy of NZ Post.

As a non-profit organisation that relies on courier services to deliver our products to customers nationwide, receiving free deliveries for one year will have a significant impact. It will allow us to invest the money we spend on courier costs into growing our operation and creating more employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. We are incredibly excited for the year ahead and we are very grateful to NZ Post for selecting Will&Able Bulk as a 2023 finalist.

Kilmarnock Enterprises is collaborating with Te Pūkenga to offer a Food Safety and Food Packing training course through the Kilmarnock Academy. Six learners from Kilmarnock Enterprises are completing the course, with two tutors from Te Pūkenga leading classroom-based and practical learning every Tuesday morning.

Our students will learn and complete assessments on five NZQA unit standards throughout the course. The assessed standards will include the management of contamination hazards and control methods, safe work practices, food safety methods and the cleaning of food production areas and equipment. Food packaging is a significant area of business for Kilmarnock, enabling students of this course to implement and reinforce the skills they are learning in their work. Combining course training and on-the-job skill reinforcement provides our learners with a strong and competitive skill set, supporting them to transition into employment beyond Kilmarnock in the future, should they wish to.

The Kilmarnock Academy programme is empowering Kiwis with intellectual disabilities to build the confidence and skill they need to take control and lead the lives they want to live.

We are excited to expand our collaboration with Te Pūkenga to offer further opportunities for Kiwis with intellectual disabilities in the future.

Usually, saying goodbye is a sad experience, but at Kilmarnock, nothing makes us happier than seeing members of our whānau go on the next step of their journey.

Elisha has been accepted into Te Pūkenga, where he will be undertaking a course in creative media. When Elisha started at Kilmarnock after finishing school, he had a dream to study, but this dream didn’t feel achievable to him. Four years on, Elisha leaves Kilmarnock with a well-rounded skillset and the confidence to achieve his dream.

We are so excited to see Elisha take on this new challenge, and we are proud to have been a partner in his success.

Listen to Elisha reflect on his time at Kilmarnock below.