Chris Kamachi, owner of Digital Toys in Surrey, was one of five employers recognized for embracing inclusion in the workplace.
He was nominated for the Widening Our World (WOW) Award - organized through Community Living BC - by employee Nevada Smith.
Smith, 23, first started at Digital Toys about two years ago on a job-experience arrangement that was meant to take a bit of work off Kamachi's plate. But Smith's role has grown into a paid part-time job with bright prospects.
And in thanks, Smith nominated his boss for the CLBC award.
"He's a great employer and he helps people," said Smith. "He's just great."
Digital Toys deals in high-end tech solutions for companies, usually on an as-needed basis.
"They call us parachutists," said Kamachi. "We parachute into a company, we fix problems, we upgrade servers, we do specialized equipment and then we leave."
He said he was surprised to learn about the WOW award, because no one gave him a heads up beforehand.
"I'm honoured to be nominated, that's for sure," he said shortly after receiving the award Friday.
When Smith started his job experience, he mostly took apart computers in preparation for recycling or upgrades and shredded hard drives, which is done to prevent sensitive information from falling into the wrong hands.
But Kamachi has discovered Smith's love of computers and willingness to learn means he can do a lot more than that. He is now rebuilding computers, setting up networks and more sophisticated tasks.
"I think he might have a little latent skill that we might be able to transform into something like development, something where he can actually sell his skill," said Kamachi. "It's possible that he has those skills but I don't think anybody's spent the time to figure it out so I'm going to spend a little time with him and some of my other people and teach them programming."
For his part, Smith said, "I love my job so much that sometimes I get to work too early because I can't wait to be there."