Aviva Work Place Trials support back-to-work journeys

Formerly known as Christchurch Women’s Refuge, Aviva provides services to individuals and families to free them from family violence. The organisation works with 1500 clients every year, and since its establishment in 1973, has supported thousands of Canterbury women, children, and men.

Christine Wallace, former Finance and HR Manager at Aviva, says the organisation works hard to support people to “be the best they can be.” Over the last three years, this has included working alongside Fit for Work to help people return to employment, via ACC’s Work Place Trials.

“The ACC Work Place Trials have been a perfect fit for us. Being able to offer the opportunity for people to start their back-to-work journey in a safe and nurturing environment has been great. Our aim is to get people working 30 hours per week, and to rediscover their confidence and drive in the process,” Christine says.

Fit for Work’s Vocational Consultants work with each client before the trial starts, supporting them through the tough initial stage. They also stay in touch throughout the trial, checking in every couple of weeks, and popping into the office regularly to see how things are progressing.

Aviva offers workplace training in both reception and database work. Each trial is tailored to suit the individual, and considers factors such as how long they have been off work, the extent of their injury or illness, and their specific workplace health and safety needs.  Depending on the person’s injury or illness, the timeframe for getting a person comfortable with 30 hours of weekly work is usually between one and three months.

“Everyone has different needs, so it’s all about finding out what works best for people,” Christine says.  

Aviva has supported eight people over the last three years, with the majority of participants finding work following the trial. Christine says that some of the triallists have continued to work at Aviva in fulltime, part-time and voluntary roles. “We never promise ongoing work but on a couple of occasions we have had vacancies that have suited people really well.”

Christine says that seeing the triallists blossom has been “one of the great joys” of her role.

“Everyone I have seen graduate from an ACC Work Place Trial is much more confident and prepared to get back into the workforce. Working in partnership with organisations like Fit for Work has been crucial to getting the best results for people,” she says.


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