For over 50 years Workplace Support has been looking out for the wellbeing of employees across Aotearoa New Zealand. Our mission to work in this way first started in 1965 when Owen Kitchingman, a local pastor, realised there was a need for support and provided chaplaincy for the men working on the Manapouri dam (power project). He recognised with growing concern that this group (numbering hundreds) of workers were isolated away from home for long periods of time and were not able to access the same levels of support available to them if they were still with their families and communities at home.
From here, an early version of our On-Site model was created. What Owen knew then was, that being with the team on location and being present with the workers enabled him to understand and acknowledge their challenges far better. From this position he was able to use his skill and experience to make a positive difference to their wellbeing.
Once the Manapouri dam was completed, Owen moved to Christchurch and from here, he spoke of his experiences supporting out on the field. A committee of 'interested parties' was formed consisting of both church colleagues and industry members and this is where the 'Inter-Church trade and Industry Mission' was formed and our work began.
These days we are known as Workplace Support and a few things have changed along the way, but one thing that has stayed the same is our commitment to understanding and supporting workplace wellbeing across the country. True to our roots, we remain a Not-For-Profit organisation and continue to serve for the greatest good of our client organisations. Our main service 'On-Site Staff Support' still sees staff being supported in a chaplaincy type model of checking in on everyone, making sure concerns are acknowledged and spirits kept high. We hope to be working in this way for many more years to come.