What could be more creative than being different?

Thursday 19 July 2012, 12:36PM

By Porter Novelli New Zealand


Fairfax Media leads by example in encouraging New Zealand businesses to provide jobs for disabled Kiwis with the Creative Spirit programme

Fairfax Media is launching Creative Spirit in New Zealand – a programme designed to boost numbers of creative communications agencies employing people with disabilities.

Creative Spirit was created by advertising agency Droga5’s Sydney office, and to-date more than 50 organisations across Australia have signed up to participate.

Allen Williams, Fairfax Media Chief Executive, says the Creative Spirit programme has been operating at Fairfax New Zealand for four months and has already made a significant difference to the culture of the Auckland office.

“As New Zealand’s largest media organisation, diversity in employment is something of huge importance to us. Creative Spirit is a perfect fit for our business, as it not only allows us to expand our already significant corporate responsibility efforts, but also enhances our staff morale and office culture.”

The success of the Auckland trial will see Fairfax expand the programme into its other large sites nationwide.

“We are very excited to launch this programme in New Zealand. Unfortunately, work opportunities, particularly in the creative industries, are not always available to people with disabilities.  The benefits in being a part of this programme are significant and I encourage all New Zealand workplaces to consider giving the programme a go,” says Mr. Williams.

Through Creative Spirit, Fairfax Media has employed two people, including Emma Halvorsen, who job share at the Auckland corporate office for 30 hours a week. Since joining Fairfax in March, they have had a real impact on staff and have become valued team members. They help with general office tasks including filing and mail delivery and assist in keeping the office clean and tidy.

Asked what she likes most about working at Fairfax Media, Emma quickly responds that it’s the people she works with. “My new friends at Fairfax are great. I love getting up in the morning and going to work. My life couldn’t be better.”

Emma’s Father Terry is full of praise for both Emma and the Creative Spirit programme. “Since starting work at Fairfax Media, Emma has a really noticeably renewed sense of purpose. The job at Fairfax has given her a real sense of purpose and a sense of belonging – her family circle has extended to include her new workmates. It’s all a father can ask for his child.”

In the past financial year Fairfax Media has invested more than $6 million in cash or kind in corporate responsibility, not just via flagship charities such as Fairfax First Books and the Round The Bays Trust, but through sponsorships in each of the communities Fairfax Media operates.

In order to credibly support the introduction of Creative Spirit to New Zealand, Fairfax Media has employed two people in its Auckland office for the past four months, and plans to roll out to its other large sites nationwide.

“The beauty of Creative Spirit is that it is a very collaborative, simple process to get the participants into work. Aside from a willingness to make it happen, very little is required from the organisation,” adds Mr. Williams.

Companies interested in employing someone through Creative Spirit can register via the Creative Spirit website From there they will be put in touch with an organisation that recruits, trains and supports people with disabilities to identify the right person for the role.