Embrace disability in the workplace

In today’s employment equity climate, businesses are required to proactively adapt and embrace disability employment.

In an effort to empower local employers and managers with the necessary know-how to offer meaningful employment to persons with disabilities, Helderberg Association for Persons with Disabilities (HAPD) are presenting a training opportunity in Stellenbosch, on Thursday July 21.

The latest statistics show that there around four million people with disabilities in South Africa. Most continue to face unemployment, among many other issues, that prevent them from fully participating in society.

“We conservatively estimate that there are over 20 000 people with disabilities in and around the greater Stellenbosch and Helderberg,” says Dr Cindy Wiggett-Barnard, chief operating officer at HAPD.

She challenges local businesses to acknowledge the low employment rate and opportunities for persons with disabilities in and around Stellenbosch and Helderberg.

“The reality is that the majority of those with disabilities in our community are unemployed,” she says.

Many businesses cite the cost of accommodating and perceived loss of productivity as the main reasons for not embracing disability in their business.

Several studies show these fears are often exaggerated. A national survey confirmed managers reported satisfaction with the job performances of employees with disabilities and that the cost of accommodations is not excessive.

The workshop offers an introduction for managers and employers in understanding disability and inclusion. It will also shed light on how employers can optimally support and integrate employees with disabilities into the work place.

It will introduce employers to the concepts of universal access and how to make the built environment accessible. For details visit www.hapd.org.za/training or call 021 882 8852.