Workbridge, where abilities equal employment.

Zane overcomes challenges to find his perfect job at Westland Milk Products

Zane Westland

Last January Zane Wederell was applying for jobs without success, despite an excellent academic record. Today he is working in a job he loves as an IT administrator at Westland Milk Products' Hokitika office.

Zane, from Greymouth, who has Asperger syndrome, says his chance to get a foot on the career ladder is thanks to the Workbridge employment agency.

Zane has a Level Six Diploma in information and communications technology from Greymouth Polytechnic, is a former head boy of his school, and has a number of awards to his name including the Australasian Exams for computing, maths, English and science. However he was struggling to find work.

"I had been looking for the right job since leaving school but the kind of work I could find was in petrol stations or supermarkets," said Zane. "I enjoyed it but it didn't challenge me or provide the kind of career opportunities I was looking for."

"After completing my diploma I started applying for IT jobs. Not many came up locally but when they did I applied but didn't get an interview. So I got in touch with Workbridge at the beginning of last year."

Employment consultant Debora Pedersen-Gould from Workbridge's Greymouth centre, discussed Zane's qualifications, skills and interests with him, helped him to upgrade his CV and covering letter and coached him on a range of issues including interview techniques, communication and social skills and how to dress for an interview or the workplace.

Zane had already previously applied for an IT assistant role at Westland without success but when the position was made available again he sent in his new CV and letter.

This time he got an interview and Debora helped him prepare for that.

"Because of my Aspergers, I'm quite nervous," said Zane. "Debora gave me a lot of help about making that all-important first impression and that gave me more confidence.

"I had a phone interview first and was invited in for a second interview. Next I was invited in to do some work experience and then was offered the job.

Westland's Information Systems and Technology Manager Nick Wakefield said: "Zane was the best candidate for the job and has the right skills to get the job done. I continue to receive positive feedback from the business on Zane's excellent IT support, and he has the respect of his colleagues."

Zane says "I really enjoy the work. As part of the IT team we look after the T side of things and it is great to be able to use my skills and do a job which stretches me. I work with a great team of people and the team is very supportive"

Debora has continued to work with Zane and his employers, briefing his immediate managers about Asperger Syndrome before he started and providing support as needed.

"Westland look after their people very well. It's a great job and feedback on his performance has been very good. His managers have encouraged Zane to step up and take responsibility for a complete area and he is doing that."

"Zane was the best candidate for the job and has the right skills to get the job done."

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