Employment December 8, 2020
New toolkit helps global businesses include more people with disabilities in the workplace
Sightsavers partners with companies around the world to help them foster more inclusive working environments for people with disabilities Lessons learned from these companies have helped shape new guidelines to enable CEOs, and HR managers foster more inclusive workplaces.
A ‘disability toolkit’ has been launched by Inclusive Futures programme in response to a growing demand from business leaders who want people with disabilities to be represented in their workforce, but do not know where to start.
Inclusive Futures is a six-year disability-inclusive initiative, funded by UK Aid. Its vision is to create a world where everyone has the same opportunities to go to school, access quality health care, and claim their right to work through informal and formal employment. Sightsavers is overseeing the initiative and leading on specific education, employment and health programmes.
Disability inclusive initiative
The disability kit offers advice for businesses, big and small, to hire more people with disabilities, ensure workspaces are accessible and support employees with disabilities to achieve their potential.
Experience of working with companies like Unilever, Diageo and Safaricom have contributed to the practical guidelines as well as that of jobseekers, disability rights groups and local businesses in Uganda, Bangladesh, Kenya, and Nigeria.
“These unique, practical guides are designed to meet the needs and expectations of business”, says Susan Scott-Parker, Founder, Business Disability International and co-author of the toolkit. “We have learned that making it easier for employers to say ‘YES’ inevitably makes it easier for job seekers with disabilities to find meaningful employment”.
Jobs for disabled people at a low
One billion people are estimated to have a disability around the world, yet employment numbers remain low across most countries. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that as much as 3 to 7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is lost within middle and low-income-countries as people with disabilities are excluded from the job market. This includes India.
We are seeing young people with disabilities reach their full potential through inclusive schools across India. Now it is important that the private sector also gets on board to level the playing field. Employing people with disabilities has clear benefits not only for the people employed, but also for businesses. – Simon Brown, Inclusive Futures Global Technical Lead
Contrary to what people might expect it’s not the financial side that motivates companies but because they believe hiring inclusively is the right thing to do.
Sakshi Handa, Human Resource Director, Unilever Bangladesh, adds that it is important to foster a culture for diverse talent. “Going forward, we want to be able to welcome persons of disability. It is the right thing to do and we also want to lead by example in the industry disability and inclusion space.”
Apart from the guidelines Inclusive Futures has worked with companies such as Safaricom to deliver disability confidence training to hundreds of line managers this year. It has also created a “First Shot” scheme to encourage young job seekers with disabilities to apply for vacancies with the company.
The toolkit can be found here
- World Disability Day 2020 – Challenges & opportunities in making the world more inclusive for people with disabilities post Covid
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