When lunchtime rolls around in Ashburton, there's a beeline of locals and passing traffic to one of their favourite sandwich joints. And while there's much to be celebrated in the fresh mix of ingredients filling their lunch of choice at Subway Ashburton, the diversity of the people making the sandwiches is a point of interest that's been explored in the first of a series of videos.
The Welcoming Communities programme being piloted in the Ashburton District is making the rounds of local workplaces to shine a light on businesses who have been creating welcoming and diverse workplaces where difference is celebrated.
Tony Corbett of Subway Ashburton says at his business, he works hard to treat everyone the same and involve everyone at all levels.
"We often call it the 'United Nations'. When you look along the line, there's a real mix of all ethnicities. It's really good - it's a good work environment."
Where staff struggle to confidently use English when interacting with the public, he says the team work to help incorporate non-verbal tools to indicate which salads or other food items the customer wants. In time, their English skills increase.
"Ninety per cent of customers are understanding," he adds.
Although they are a seven-day-a-week business, Tony would like to incorporate more social functions such as barbeques and picnics with staff to help involve everyone and where they are able to bring their families along.
The short video series are produced by the Ashburton District Council, and feature Tony McNeill from Immigration NZ speaking with 'champions' of welcoming workplaces.
Follow the Welcoming Communities - Ashburton District Facebook page to see more Welcoming Workplaces as the episodes are launched. To learn more about the great things happening in Ashburton to make it an even more connected place for newcomers, or ways to make your workplace a more welcoming space, visit wccanterbury.com.