Altus Enterprises is a division of the Elevator Group. The Elevator Group (formerly known as the Auckland Sheltered Workshop and Training Trust and Workforce Auckland Inc. ) was incorporated as a society in 1963 and we are now in our 50th year of providing service to people with all disability types in the greater Auckland region.
Operating as a sheltered workshop for the first 30 years of its history, in the early 1990’s Workforce Auckland began to offer support for people with disabilities wishing to undertake employment in the open marketplace. While the numbers were small in the initial years, the number of people now supported into open employment through Elevator exceeds those employed in the Altus Enterprises.
These two main streams of employment, open employment and employment with Altus continued to operate on arms-length basis for over the years. Candidates were captured in one or other stream with very little, if any, movement between the two options. Those working in each stream believed passionately about the employment opportunities being provided under their particular model.
Certainly the sheltered workshops of old did little to further the employment options of people with disabilities. Society as a whole perceived these environments to be a segregated option where “real work” did not actually take place. The long-awaited and welcome repeal of the Disabled Persons Employment Promotion (DPEP) Act 1960 required sheltered workshop providers to truly reflect on what it is they are offering to people with disabilities. Now all of our employees are on individual employment contracts and are rightly afforded the same employment rights as the rest of the workforce.
The introduction of ‘Pathways to Inclusion’ in September 2001 required many organisations in the disabilities sector, Workforce Auckland included, to adapt to the direction established in this framework. Disabled people, now supported to lead ‘ordinary lives’, began to demand equal opportunities as the norm, not the exception. Service providers in the disability sector now had a group of consumers with higher expectations – expectations aligned with other sectors in society.
The Elevator Group embraced these changes and has gone from strength to strength over the years.
Our mission is “To assist disabled Aucklanders to work in careers of their choice” and this is where we are at today.
Over the last 50 years we have helped in excess of 10,000 disabled people in Auckland to enjoy the benefits of paid employment and we hope to be continuing to do so in another 50 years.