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Workshop on disability confidence at the workplace sees frank exchange of ideas

There is a positive shift among companies in India, big and small, when it comes to hiring people with disabilities. Like all employees, disabled people bring a range of abilities and qualifications to the workplace and hiring them makes good business sense.

To improve the employment prospects of people with disabilities and to map roles that disability specific, the Department for International Development (DFID)-Government of United Kingdom (DFID-UK), Skill Council for Persons with Disabilities (SCPwD) - Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and impact enterprise v-shesh held a workshop on disability confidence at the workplace in Kolkata this week.

Over 20 employers and 41 participants were present at the workshop which discussed among other things, the barriers in recruitment and the range of equal opportunities for the workplace. There was a deliberate focus on addressing barriers rather than the disability, with employers sharing their experiences, learnings as well as solutions.

These workshops are designed to break stereotypes, create awareness and confidence among participants from HR, Talent Acquisition, and Operations to chart out their own journey for disability inclusion in their respective organizations. When it comes to disability inclusion, employers have many questions such as - How to access this pool of talent, how to make job roles inclusive, the accommodation requirements and who bears the costs of these accommodations. The workshop saw a heathy exchange among employers on practical solutions to each of these issues, thereby providing each participant a framework as well as useful tips as takeaways for implementation in their respective organisations. - Radhika Agarwal,Founding Member, v-shesh said

Companies across a range of sectors like Business Processing, Financial Services, Hospitality and Retail, Healthcare Manufacturing and others participated. There were representatives from the National Association for Blind, and the Deaf Peoples' Association as well. The workshop ensured accessibility for all by providing sign language interpretation, material in alternate formats, etc. Also present as role models were disabled people employed in the corporate sector.

Niharika Nigam, Head Quality & Standards, SCPwD, talked about the role of the organization in skilling disabled people and emphasized upon the need for creating inclusive work culture with accessibility and acceptability.

So far in India, it is the multinationals which have taken the lead when it comes to workplace inclusion. Regular interactions like these will help address doubts and misconceptions and lead to small and medium business enterprises embracing inclusion at the workplace.

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