Finding the perfect job
BY BILL PHILLIPS As far as Rod Sutton is concerned, he has the best job in the world. He works the weekend shift as a custodian at the Northern Sports Centre. It was a natural progression for him after doing some custodial work at the AiMHi office in Prince George. AiMHi, through its job placement program, then found Sutton his dream job at the Northern Sport Centre. “I like the people,” he said of his job which sees him cleaning the washrooms, sweeping the floors, cleaning rugs and generally, making sure the building is clean. “I really enjoy chatting with the people. Once in a while someone will come up and say ‘you guys are doing an awesome job.’ Which makes me feel really good.” He says it’s not an easy job as dealing with plugged toilets and messy change-rooms can challenge anyone. But it means the world to him. “I can really branch out and talk to other people, and get to know the community more,” he said. “What family I do have are very proud of me for getting this high. I’ve started low and come all the way up to the top.” Sutton has been doing janitorial work seven years and to now clean the Northern Sports Centre, where two of his nieces have attended, is special. “Janitor work is something that people look at go ‘oh, gross,’” he said. “Janitor work is being your own person … You know exactly what you’re doing.” AiMHi had placed him at a local mill, but that wasn’t a fit for him, nor was a stint with a local janitorial company. At the Northern Sport Centre he has more responsibility, he has to navigate the transit system to make sure he gets to work on time. The challenge works for him. “I’m hoping that I’m going to stay here,” he said. “I going to retire at this job.” For Gordon Jewsbury, Sutton’s boss and general manager of Sodexo, hiring people with disabilities just makes sense. In fact, it’s encouraged by the company, which is a global company and has been recognized as one of Canada’s best diversity employers. It works with Ready, Willing and Able, which is a national agency that focuses on creating an inclusive labour force. Sodexo has several programs to achieve that goal including one called Jennifer’s Green Chain. In Toronto there was an employee who, because she has a disability, was working with a counsellor while everyone else was in a class making green chains out of paper. She was upset because everyone else got to make the green chains but she wasn’t able to. “Now the company is, for every person we hire who has a disability, adds a link to the chain in our head office,” said Jewsbury. “So we’re trying to make that chain as long as possible.” Head office accolades aside, Jewsbury says there is a definite business case to be made for hiring people with disabilities. “Statistics have shown that people with a disability always show up for work,” he said. “They’re always here, they’re always willing to do what they’ve been asked to do as well as ‘is there anything else I can do for you. In some cases, I would class them as the ideal employee.” That means, he said, employee turnover goes down. “I’ve got some people who are always coming for work, they enjoy their job and they go that extra mile do a good job,” he said. As for Sutton, Jewsbury says he is fitting in fine at the Northern Sports Centre. “So far he’s doing very well,” said Jewsbury, adding they adjusted his work schedule to accommodate the bus schedule. And for Sutton, he’s where he wants to be and having a good job makes all the difference. “People see that I really like doing this,” Sutton said. “There’s nobody behind me telling me what needs to be done.”
The Prince George Daily News celebrates Community Inclusion Month. All this month we will running stories from we Magazine, published by AiMHi. You can check out the full magazine below. Click now to become a journalism patron Click now to become a journalism patron Click now to become a journalism patron Troy Knox photo