Genera's Napier operations manager Gavin Smales cares more for cans than can'ts.

The Napier Port-based biosecurity company is being recognised for inclusiveness when recruiting staff with disabilities, selected as a finalist in the ACC Employer Award category in the 2015 Attitude Awards. The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with disabilities and those who support them.

Mr Smales insists that he doesn't hire people with disabilities - he simply hires people who can do the job. He sees capability rather than disability and has a passionate workforce as a result.

He first contacted Workbridge, an equal employment agency, three years ago. Since then he has employed workers with a range of disabilities including dyslexia, Tourette's syndrome, mental illness, lost limbs, cancer or recovering addicts.


"I've found the attitude of the staff we've got from Workbridge is much better than your average Joe Blogs off the street."

"They really want to work so they do a good job."

Starting on casual contracts, three Workbridge-sourced staff now hold permanent positions, supported the same as all staff through on-the-job training, a buddy system and licensing.

Workbridge Hawke's Bay nominated Genera for the award.

"The success of these employees is down to Genera and specifically Gavin," Workbridge senior employment consultant Lynne Gibson said.

Genera's Whangarei office also uses Workbridge to find staff and two hold permanent positions there and Genera's Tauranga management team is now looking to Workbridge for recruitment.

The Napier Genera team will find out if they have won at a black-tie gala on World Disability Day, December 3.