A STEPPING STONE TO COVETED CAREERS
LinkABILITY, Ability Foundation’s trailblazing training programme, is empowering scores of graduates with disabilities from across the country walk into great jobs.
“I learned a lot here, and my confidence levels and skills have improved after attending this programme”, says M. Srikanth, who has been offered the position of SSC Accountant with a leading data research company after attending the programme. “All the teachers were awesome; the way of teaching was amazing, positive and friendly. We got to have new assessments every day, which is good. And if we did not understand anything, we could ask the teacher and get it cleared”, voices Arshiya Sidiqaa. “Thanks to this programme, I have overcome stage fear”, avers Darman Moula Sharief. Adds S. Aravind, “I got an opportunity through this programme to interact with a team of multifaceted teachers, who upgraded me to match industry expectations”. Anuj Jain adds, “Great work by all the teachers and the interpreter… I feel inspired by the enthusiasm with which they explained everything to me.”
These are just some of the feedback Ability Foundation received for LinkABILITY, its soft skills training programme for persons with disabilities.
LinkABILITY is an innovative initiative held through the year to enhance the job-readiness of graduates with disabilities, offered absolutely free of cost, and participating graduates have gone on to bag lucrative jobs. The programme is accessible and includes sign language interpretation as well as captioning.
When the programme was rolled out in 2017, it was held at different locations across the country. The pandemic changed everything and LinkABILITY went online. There were no longer boundaries of geography. As a result, candidates now register from across the country. The last four editions had participants from eleven states. There was participation from people with various disabilities – locomotor disabilities, deafness, blindness, dyslexia, mild intellectual disability, and autism.
Bridging the gap
It is true that today there is an increasing number of highly qualified graduates with disabilities. It is also true that more and more employers are increasingly open to hiring people with disabilities. Despite this, there seems to be a gap, a missing link so to speak.
Why is this so? As someone from the talent acquisition team from a leading MNC put it, “While candidates with disabilities are technically sound and qualified, communication is an area that needs some enhancing for some of the candidates.” A good percentage of persons with disabilities have simply not had the opportunity to hone their job-readiness, despite their impressive academic credentials. This scenario is fast changing though, and LinkABILITY has been one of the gamechangers.
A winning idea
LinkABILITY grew organically. “As with all of Ability Foundation’s work, every step we took towards employment was challenging, and pioneering. At every stage, having established a trend, we moved on to new areas of need”, says Jayshree Raveendran, Founder and Honorary Executive Director, Ability Foundation.
From early on in its existence, Ability Foundation recognised the importance of employment in creating self-respect for persons with disabilities as well as in changing perceptions about them. So training was always linked to employment potential. “Our early training sessions gave way to a placement wing, and from 2004, an annual job opportunities fair for persons with disabilities, EmployABILITY. Initially, EmployABILITY was preceded by a seminar for registered job seekers, to better prepare them to face interviews and become more employable”, shares Radhika Rammoorthy, Deputy Director, Ability Foundation. The next logical step was LinkABILITY, a more holistic preparatory training programme.
LinkABILITY is held throughout the year, today. The LinkABILITY programme is a rich combination of soft skills and includes a module on disability rights as well. Post training, participants are given the opportunity to do standard aptitude tests and attend mock interviews, after which the candidates get to appear for real interviews with corporates across different industry verticals.
“The experience with every batch of LinkABILITY has been most encouraging and is an affirmation that we are on the right track”, says K. Malini, Ability Foundation’s chief co-ordinator for its LinkABILITY programme.
Across the world, people with disabilities are now being viewed as extremely valuable human resource adding to the diversity of the talent pool within the company. LinkABILITY is that perfect bridge that is empowering graduates with disabilities to enter the job market and demonstrate their abilities and potential.
The next edition of LinkABILITY Online Soft Skills Training Programme commences on Friday, 26 February 2021. Seats are limited and is on first-come-first basis. Graduates who have passed out of college after 2017, having studied Math till Class 12, and experienced professionals who have passed out in 2013 or later are eligible to apply for this programme. This will be a virtual, inclusive classroom with captioning and sign language interpreter, and participants need to have a desktop / laptop / tablet with good Internet connection.
Interested candidates can register for LinkABILITY on Ability Foundation’s website https://abilityfoundation.org or e-mail email@example.com or call 8939675544.
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