Active in HELL is a partnership between HELL Pizza and IHC New Zealand to get young people with intellectual disabilities into paid training in HELL stores around the country. Running since 2013, the initiative has seen 150 young Kiwis graduate with new-found skills and life experience.
Celine Jenkins, 23, graduated from HELL Rolleston in January and has since gone on to find permanent employment in a commercial kitchen– and she is loving it.
“I am having a fantastic time learning and meeting some very nice people,” said Celine.
“It is amazing to have a job, because now I am more independent, and I have more money to spend!”
HELL Pizza CEO Ben Cumming is thrilled to hear that Celine is working after her training.
“We’re really stoked when any of our Active in HELL graduates find permanent employment with help from the skills we’ve given them,” said Ben. “This is a great result for Celine and we’re very happy for her.”
HELL Rolleston store manager Sam Zhou is not surprised that Celine has found employment after her training.
“Celine worked really hard and I’m extremely proud of her,” said Sam.
Active in HELL regional coordinator for Christchurch Laura Oldfield-Connor was also impressed by the way Celine took to her training and, when she became aware of an employment opportunity in a commercial kitchen, she knew Celine would be a good fit.
“Celine was really focused during her training and always happy to do what was asked. She just got on with it,” said Laura.
“Shortly afterwards, I was approached by an employer who wanted to provide opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities in a large commercial kitchen in the Canterbury region. I sent them a few CVs and the fact that Celine had Active in HELL training on hers made her really stand out.”
The feedback from her current employer, who prefers not to be named, is that Celine has become an extremely valuable member of the team.
Celine’s employer said: “We can see that Celine has been well-supported through her training with HELL in the way she picks up new tasks and works well in the kitchen environment. Celine shows a willingness to learn and overall she is a very special person with a warm smile. We would encourage other employers to give someone with an intellectual disability a chance.”
Celine is now planning what to do with her new income and thinks that anyone who gets the chance to train through Active in HELL should give it a go.
“Through Active in HELL, I learnt a lot about going to work and gained confidence to work at other places,” said Celine. “It has really helped open new opportunities for me, and I would recommend it to others.”
Active in HELL overview
Active in HELL is a partnership between HELL Pizza and IHC New Zealand, the leading provider of services for people with intellectual disabilities.
The initiative provides youths with intellectual disabilities the chance to learn key vocational skills and vital independence through being paid for their training in HELL store kitchens around the country.
The paid training programme consists of 12 two-hour shifts, in which participants learn everything from food safety to how to create a devilishly good pizza.
Running since 2013, Active in HELL recently surpassed 150 graduates and in 2016 won the Diversability Award at the New Zealand Diversity Awards. 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.