Batting for work and income clients, Fielding for the Blindcaps cricket team

MSD Employment Coordinator Jody Cruickshank uses her own experience managing vision loss to help others overcome life’s challenges by finding employment.

He fights for job seekers and along the way has become a very successful employment coordinator for MSD helping clients find jobs.

Jody supports clients who have an injury, medical condition or disability.

He has a unique perspective on what the labor market is like for people with health and disability issues.

At the age of nine, he was diagnosed with Refsum’s disease, a rare genetic condition that gradually deteriorated his eyesight. At 27, he was no longer allowed to drive.

Gradually losing his sight forces him to rethink his career and life plans. Now he uses that experience to help others with complex needs.

“It was quite depressing and isolating at times because you wonder what your future will be. I always try to find solutions, and that’s what I try to help others do.”

Jody’s job involves working with the Invercargill Work and Income Service Center team, local organizations and employers, to connect job seekers with new employment opportunities.

Over the past 12 months, it has helped 58 people leave benefits and find work, all of whom have health conditions, disabilities or injuries.

“I can build good relationships with our clients because of the experiences I have had in my life and what I go through day to day with my vision loss. I have also benefited from this many years ago , which helps me understand,” he says.

“It’s not just about me, I have a great team at Invercargill. I use our relationships with organizations and businesses to help our clients find work and find them support if they need it. .”

When not batting for his clients, Jody plays for the New Zealand Blindcaps cricket team. He played against the Australian Blind Cricket team in Brisbane in June.

He always dreamed of representing New Zealand in cricket.

“Everyone on the team has different levels of vision, it involves a lot of communication and mutual support.”

Regional Employment Manager for MSD’s Southern Region, Simon Rakiraki, says Jody is simply an exceptional person and employee.

“Jody connects with people so easily. He’s a truly inspiring guy; we’re proud to have him on our team and wish him all the best in his games with the Blindcaps this season.”

Remarks

  • Benefit statistics for the June quarter show a high number of people leaving benefit for paid employment, with 26,334 people nationwide leaving benefit for work in the June quarter. This included 8,444 people who had been receiving a main benefit for more than a year.
  • MSD uses a range of employment programs, such as Flexi-wage and Mana in Mahi, to help employers hire staff and give them the skills they need to do the job. You can find more information about Flexi-wage here as well as our full range of additional support and training for job applicants here
  • Some of the organizations Jody works with to help find jobs include Workbridge, APM Workcare, Community Care Trust and Choices NZ.

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