Making friends and pizza

Chloe Simonsen greets Hell Pizza South Dunedin franchise owner Hamish Dua outside the store.PHOTO...
Chloe Simonsen greets Hell Pizza South Dunedin franchise owner Hamish Dua outside the store.PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Making friends and making pizzas are some of the experiences Chloe Simonsen has enjoyed during her work experience at Hell Pizza in South Dunedin.

She is one of about 10 people with intellectual disabilities who took part in a six-week work experience programme at the South Dunedin franchise of the national pizza chain.

Franchise owner Hamish Dua said Miss Simonsen was a fast learner: ‘‘You only have to show her something once’’.

Miss Simonsen was guided in tasks including making up pizza boxes and cleaning pizza trays and tables.

She was paid for her work experience and was able to work unsupervised once she had been trained, Mr Dua said.

She had benefited from learning and being a productive part of the team, and the education helped with her current work experience position at Lumad Restaurant, in North East Valley.

It was very rewarding to see people with intellectual disabilities become confident and excited to take on a task, Mr Dua said.

‘‘We wanted to give back to the community.

‘‘Training individuals who are intellectually disabled, you are helping them with opportunities to develop new skills.’’

The project is part of a national collaboration between Hell Pizza and Idea Services, which provides services for people with intellectual disabilities.

The project has seen about 150 people nationally participate in paid work experiences at the pizza chain.

Hell Pizza chief executive Ben Cumming said the project had been running since 2013.

‘‘This was a perfect opportunity for us to offer our kitchens and expertise to expand the choices available for young people with an intellectual disability,’’ Mr Cumming said.

‘‘It is a great initiative which we’re all very proud of.’’

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