As a business owner, Suzanne Kenchington of Healing Hands Landscaping, a company that provides design, installation and maintenance services in Burnaby, British Columbia, has worked hard to develop a diverse and hard-working team. With both a personal and professional background of working with individuals with intellectual disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Kenchington knew working with Ready, Willing & Able (RWA) would make for a great partnership.

With the assistance of RWA, Kenchington hired Trevor as a labourer. In Trevor’s role, tasks can include clearing areas, leaf clean up and pruning. Kenchington shares that Trevor has not only enhanced her company’s environment, but his positive and professional attitude hasn’t gone unnoticed, “Trevor is loyal, dedicated to his job and has brought a fresh new perspective to our crew.”

Trevor landscaping outside with his co-workers.

When Trevor joined Healing Hands Landscaping, the team welcomed him with open arms. “Trevor has an incredible personality, is full of laughter and fits in really well,” says Kenchington. Inclusive hiring is something Kenchington always knew she wanted to do, knowing that it would bring many benefits to her company and team. “I encourage diversity, it has added strength to our team.”

Important hands-on support during the recruitment, interview and onboarding process was provided by BACI’s Employment Services & Training (BEST), one of RWA’s local employment agency partners in Burnaby, B.C. “Trevor was the ideal candidate, with previous experience in the industry and enthusiasm for the position,” shares Kenchington.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Centre for Inclusion and Citizenship at the University of British Columbia, employers who hire through RWA rate their employees with an intellectual disability or ASD as well as or better than the average employee in regards to getting along with coworkers (96%) and contributing to positive workplace morale and spirit (96%). Often, businesses don’t recognize these benefits; RWA works to increase labour force participation of people with an intellectual disability or ASD by educating businesses on how hiring inclusively can benefit their bottom line.

Kenchington has not only noticed a change in her company’s morale, but has also received positive feedback from her clients; “Our clients and the community are very impressed with us and think it’s awesome we’ve chosen to hire inclusively with RWA’s support.” With minimal modifications made to the company’s process, Kenchington believes that Trevor will continue to excel in his role.

“Trevor’s fabulous personality and strong work ethic are qualities that we look for in all of our candidates. He’s a great communicator and is always looking to do more where he can,” shares Kenchington.

When asked if she’d recommend RWA to other employers, Kenchington doesn’t hesitate to speak about her positive experience, “These employees will enrich your company. You’ll learn that everyone has their own unique gifts and abilities and how people like Trevor can positively contribute to your business.”

Funded by the Government of Canada and active in 20 communities across the country, RWA is a national partnership of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Alliance (CASDA) and their member organizations.