Unlock the Potential of the Kilmarnock Academy By Islay

Pledgeme projects

About Unlock the Potential of the Kilmarnock Academy

Project 2017-10-18 15:45:22 +1300


The Kilmarnock Academy is a new approach, providing a personalised, coordinated pathway to employment for people with an intellectual disability.


The Kilmarnock Training Academy is giving people with intellectual disabilities another chance to excel in education. With your support we can grow our existing pilot programme to reach 20 people within the first year, and open our doors to another 20 people with disabilities, many from outside of Kilmarnock, the following year. You will be helping to provide a transitional programme of work experience and formal (NZQA) qualifications that will assist talented people to find meaningful, sustainable employment outside of Kilmarnock. This is the first time in nearly sixty years of operations that we’ve had a project that the community can actively contribute to - and we’d love for you to join us on this exciting journey. 



Choose your rewards, pledge your amount, and help the Kilmarnock Academy come alive.


 First graduates


This funding will help us take another 20 people on the same journey as Allan, Despina, Dave, Bradley, and Rachel in 2018 to gain meaningful training and qualifications.

This is just the start of the Academy. We want to scale and build partnerships to provide a pathway to employment, beyond Kilmarnock, for people with an intellectual disability.



The Kilmarnock Academy is opening doors and unlocking potential for people with an intellectual disability, empowering them to find purposeful employment and a valued place in the community. Through recognised NZQA qualifications, our graduates can discover new talents and opportunities. This is what the Academy does…


At Kilmarnock, we believe in a world that values diversity, and so we are changing attitudes towards disability through education, employment, and opportunity, empowering people with disabilities to lead purposeful and dignified lives. We balance this social mission with achieving incredible results in a commercial environment as a contract manufacturer. We work with some incredible customers such as Air New Zealand, The Gough Group, Foodstuffs, and Trade Aid to help deliver excellent results to their customers.

To read more: www.kilmarnock.co.nz

To see more: Visit our Youtube channel

Find us: On Facebook or Twitter

Or read about what others think here: New Zealand Listener, and here: Latitude Magazine

Or just read about my (Islay) experience at Kilmarnock here.


Our Rewards

We have collected some incredible rewards, to acknowledge your support.

There is a great range to choose from including original designs from local artists (see them below), handcrafted wooden gifts made by the Kilmarnock team, and gifts and vouchers from local businesses such as HAPA, Fill Their Lunchbox, Parry Field Lawyers, The Grow Good Guy, Yoga By Kotte, Sonder Wallets, Chirny Coffee, Auspicious Victory. There is also an awesome collection of Kilmarnock experiences from tours, to presentations, to Kilmarnock workshops and your own named carpark! Stay tuned for the amazing mystery wine draw…



Also, do you like Fiji?

We do! That’s why we have partnered with Air New Zealand (one of our awesome customers) to get you there. ALL pledges over $50 will go into the draw to win a return trip for two to Fiji. Just pledge, and share on your social media with the #kilmarnockacademy


The artists
We are so lucky to know such wonderfully creative people! Four of our favourite artists have created for us some beautiful illustrations themed around education and inclusion.

Sean Bremen, An extremely talented local graphic designer, tackles the quote "If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid".

Sean Bremen- Fish

Sean Bremen- Fish

Ietje Beets, An Auckland based sculptor and printmaker has created two prints that bring to life the beautiful texture of multiplicity and diversity.

Ietje Beets- Multiplicity and Intersection

Ietje Beets- Multiplicity

Design 1: Multiplicity

Design 2: Intersection


Writer and illustrator, Jenn Rackham, loved the quote, “When people call me weird, I say thank you”.



An extra thank you
The names of any donors of $50 or more will be listed on a thank you board in the Kilmarnock Academy as an extra way of acknowledging your generosity and reminding us of all the incredible people who have supported us from the very beginning of this journey.



Last day of Kilmarnock Academy





The People Behind Unlock the Potential of the Kilmarnock Academy

Img 5333 Islay Project admin

Every day I get to talk about, write about, and share the story of my awesome colleagues and the ways they are embracing all the new opportunities coming their way. This project is a particularly exciting new opportunity! A chance to try again at education and this time come out on top!

I'm so excited - thanks for your support! 


    7 Days to go!

    04:25PM Thu 07/12/17 on Unlock the Potential of the Kilmarnock Academy

    Hello friends!

    It's been a big day today!

    We reached 100 pledges, we celebrated one week to go (It's the final countdown do-do-do-doo), AND our second group of graduates had their final day of classes!

    Mary, Tim, Tania, Jareth and Todd are now getting prepped for their graduation ceremony next week! At that graduation, we will introduce the next group of participants who will be re-starting their academic career in the new year. We still need your help to make this happen!

    Reaching the target before the 14th of December will guarantee the Academy can go ahead next year.

    So if you are willing, we would love for you to speak to all your networks and help us on the final push. Plus, there are flights for two to Fiji to win for any pledges over $50! Just make sure you have shared the campaign with the hashtag #kilmarnockacademy to be in to win!

    Last day


    P.s We were in the news today! Read about it here. 


    Thank you!


    Islay and the Kilmarnock Team

    Comment on this update:

    You need to pledge to see this update.

    Thank you, Despina for letting us share your story!

    02:39PM Tue 21/11/17 on Unlock the Potential of the Kilmarnock Academy

    I've been working at Kilmarnock for just over two years, and I was one of the first people to join the Kilmarnock Academy.


    I left school pretty early and didn't get school cert or anything. Later on, I did a course for a while, but it didn't give me any qualifications.

    I had a job in Australia making the plastic moulds for tomato packets. It was too hard, so I left after a few weeks. After that, I spent a lot of time watching TV, hanging out with friends, and walking my dog.

    When I moved to New Zealand, I still couldn't find work. After a while I found Kilmarnock. I like the variety here. I get to try heaps of different things. My favourite jobs are labelling the bottles for Glass Eye Creek, packing UHT milk for Nestle and Fonterra, and sewing.

    The Academy has been awesome. I have learnt heaps of stuff, but my favourite has been learning about managing relationships, friendships, and grief. Also goal setting.

    I'm pretty proud to have qualifications now. I never thought I could do that.


    Please help others like Despina find their confidence and get a second chance at education. Support the Kilmarnock Training Academy and pledge on our crowdfunding campaign.

    Comment on this update:


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      Ken Collins
      2017-12-13 21:34:27 +1300

      Ken Collins has pledged on 2 campaigns

      Emma Renowden
      2017-12-13 21:00:24 +1300

      Emma Renowden has pledged on 1 campaign

      Nicola Patrick
      2017-12-13 20:30:16 +1300

      Nicola Patrick has pledged on 9 campaigns

      “What a fab team!”

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      Anonymous pledger
      2017-12-13 20:06:13 +1300

      This pledger has chosen to pledge anonymously

      2017-12-13 19:59:44 +1300

      Felix has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Go Team Kilmarnock Go - Amazing and inspiring with the academy”

      leechwood products
      2017-12-13 19:51:56 +1300

      leechwood products has pledged on 2 campaigns

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      Adrienne & Mike Brown
      2017-12-13 19:43:42 +1300

      Adrienne & Mike Brown has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Good Luck.Keep up the Good Work.”

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      Byrne and Company Ltd
      2017-12-13 19:25:01 +1300

      Byrne and Company Ltd has pledged on 1 campaign

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      Robert Henderson
      2017-12-13 19:21:38 +1300

      Robert Henderson has pledged on 7 campaigns

      Tim Joll
      2017-12-13 19:13:23 +1300

      Tim Joll has pledged on 2 campaigns

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      Nicky Bishop
      2017-12-13 19:13:05 +1300

      Nicky Bishop has pledged on 1 campaign

      “To all my friends at Kilmarnock - YOU ARE MY HEROES!!
      With very best wishes
      Nicky Bishop”

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      Gavin Fernandez
      2017-12-13 18:58:09 +1300

      Gavin Fernandez has pledged on 1 campaign

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      Sam carnahan
      2017-12-13 18:14:13 +1300

      Sam carnahan has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Please donate as many lunches as you can with the extra money”

      2017-12-13 18:08:15 +1300

      Lisa has pledged on 2 campaigns

      Sarah Kelleher Work
      2017-12-13 18:02:04 +1300

      Sarah Kelleher Work has pledged on 2 campaigns

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      Stephen Bateman
      2017-12-13 17:46:17 +1300

      Stephen Bateman has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Good luck Michelle and Team what a wonderful project ”

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      Robbie McIlraith
      2017-12-13 17:40:10 +1300

      Robbie McIlraith has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Well done Michelle and the team at Kilmarnock for the great work you do in our community.
      From the team at Stellar Recruitment”

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      Brush Technology
      2017-12-13 17:39:34 +1300

      Brush Technology has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Just a donation.”

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      Anonymous pledger
      2017-12-13 17:36:10 +1300

      This pledger has chosen to pledge anonymously

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      Duane Smithson
      2017-12-13 15:58:00 +1300

      Duane Smithson has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Go Kilmarnock and the wonderful team. Really nice to meet everyone with Michelle a month ago, Duane Smithson”

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      Anonymous pledger
      2017-12-13 14:09:28 +1300

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      Anonymous pledger
      2017-12-13 14:03:54 +1300

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      Anonymous pledger
      2017-12-13 13:01:10 +1300

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      Cropmark Seeds Ltd
      2017-12-13 11:05:08 +1300

      Cropmark Seeds Ltd has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Awesome project”

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      Darren Wright
      2017-12-13 10:35:56 +1300

      Darren Wright has pledged on 2 campaigns

      Huia Lambie
      2017-12-13 10:07:44 +1300

      Huia Lambie has pledged on 16 campaigns

      “Nearly there! Fantastic initiative!”

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      Alex Meates
      2017-12-13 09:45:12 +1300

      Alex Meates has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Great idea. Best of luck ”

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      2017-12-13 09:01:54 +1300

      Gareth has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Thank you for all of your great work. ”

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      Elin Burgess
      2017-12-13 08:58:04 +1300

      Elin Burgess has pledged on 5 campaigns

      Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna'i
      2017-12-13 08:26:41 +1300

      Faumuina Felolini Maria Tafuna'i has pledged on 2 campaigns

      “Good luck guys. Cheering for you”

      Followers of Unlock the Potential of the Kilmarnock Academy

      This project was successful and got its funding on 14/12/2017 at 5:00 PM.