Sarah Kinsey, who completed her training at HELL Christchurch Hereford Street, is the second Active in HELL graduate in recent months to find permanent employment thanks to the experience.
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.
Sarah, 21, has followed in the footsteps of fellow Cantabrian Celine Jenkins, an Active in HELL graduate from Rolleston, who also secured permanent employment following her training.
Celine is now working in a commercial kitchen, while Sarah has a part-time job paper shredding.
Aside from the specific skills around food preparation and hygiene learnt with HELL, it is the responsibility of getting to work on time, following instructions and other such skills that contribute towards the overall experience that graduates can demonstrate to potential employers.
“Having recent work experience has helped me find a permanent job and I’m really enjoying it,” says Sarah. “I’m actively looking for more paid employment, as this is really important to my independence.”
Sarah took a key role in preparing the devilish delights on HELL’s menu. She weighed and rolled fresh dough, chopped and prepped veggies, and made sure the right toppings went on the right pizza in the right amount.
“My favourite thing was making the pizza and watching it go through the pizza oven,” Sarah explains, “as well as having a uniform with a baseball cap to wear!”
It’s not all easy going though. Active in HELL challenges its trainees, who often have to overcome minor difficulties during their training.
For Sarah, the biggest challenge arrived in the form of pizza dough.
“I found cutting it out to measure it a bit difficult at first, but after a while I got used to it,” she says.
HELL Hereford Street store owner Braydon Freeman was offered a job at HELL when he was 14 and credits it with his personal and professional development. He wanted to give others the same opportunity – hence his enthusiastic involvement with Active in HELL.
“I was very shy at the time and I think without HELL I would not be where I am today. The Active in HELL programme was the perfect opportunity to give back to others, so I was super keen to jump on board,” he says. “I would encourage others to give it a shot, the look on the trainees face when they learn something new or achieve something is great.
“Watching Sarah go through each element of the pizza-making process, from the dough, to preparing the pizza, to cooking and cutting it, and her being able to look at something that she had done from start to finish was amazing.
“I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Sarah. The positive attitude, big smile and stories she told us each shift will be missed.”
Active in HELL overview
Active in HELL is an award-winning training initiative that supports young people with intellectual disabilities to undertake paid training in HELL Pizza kitchens.
The partnership between HELL and the IHC Group started back in 2013 and has since provided more than 150 people, mostly supported by Choices NZ and IDEA Services, the chance to gain key employment skills and vital independence to find permanent employment opportunities.
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.
In 2016, Active in HELL 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.