Michael is a part of the Belgravia Leisure whānau and works as a Lifeguard Support person at Mt Albert Aquatic Centre in Auckland, New Zealand.
Michael has been a visitor at Mt Albert Aquatic Centre for many years and has been actively involved in the Learn to Swim Program since Belgravia Leisure took over management of Mt Albert Aquatic Centre back in 2015.
Michael has Down Syndrome but it hasn’t stopped him from becoming a valued member of the team at Mt Albert. Michael’s role has been adapted so he can assist the team with venue-closing tasks twice a week. Michael has a very big personality and is a favourite among team members and guests alike.
The impact of social acceptance, integration and employment opportunities for people in our communities with a disability is immeasurable.
Irene Smith, Operations Manager for New Zealand says, “Work opportunities in New Zealand particularly for people who have a disability, are few and far between.
“A small percentage of companies are able to support those in our community with a neurodiverse disability such as Down Syndrome so this has been a rewarding experience for the team who have made me extremely proud.
“Michael has made such an impact on the team since officially coming on board and I look forward to seeing what else Michael achieves at Mt Albert Aquatic Centre,” Irene said.
Michael’s mother Sophia says, “This job gives Michael great confidence in himself. It lets him feel that he is no different to others and it lets him know that he can achieve anything.
“Since Michael got a job at Mt Albert, he has become a different person. He started to help more at home, has learnt patience, listens and is more polite to others, plus he has gained new social skills.
“Michael loves the wave pool, water slide and especially the non-judgmental friendly team who always make Michael feel welcome,” Sophia concluded.
At Belgravia Leisure, we believe in the power of our people in connecting our communities to leisure. We pride ourselves on providing our employees with access to an extensive range of career options and opportunities for career progression at any of our family-friendly venues, with the chance to make a difference in the communities we serve.
We greatly value diversity and encourage people from all backgrounds to find a career with us. This includes but is not limited to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. People of any age or gender, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex and/or queer (LGBTIQA+) and people with disability.
We are extremely proud to have Michael a part of our Belgravia Leisure whānau.