Landscaper Chris Holt, centre, winner of WorkBC’s Inclusive Employer award, with WorkBC staff, from left, Katherine Wolbert, Rebecca Dale, Jessica Lunn, and Barbara Kelly. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Inclusive Employer Award goes to local landscaper

Chris Holt hires people with special needs to do garden maintenance

Chris Holt has received this year’s Inclusive Employer award from WorkBC in Nelson.

His company, Lakewood Landscapes, regularly hires people with special needs, referred to him through WorkBC, to do garden maintenance.

In an interview on Sept. 18 after being presented with the award, he said that for his special needs employees he looks beyond the stereotypes.

“It’s tough for them,” he said. “As soon as you mention mental challenges, people don’t want to hire you. They back off as if it is something contagious. So it is great to give people an opportunity to have a job.

“I have never asked what is this person’s situation. I never want to know if this person is suffering from schizophrenia or is bipolar. They are just people. Every one of us has special needs.”

He said he regularly sees his work opportunities making a big difference in people’s lives, and he is proud of it.

“To have meaningful work, to take pride in what they are doing – we all need a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

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