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Enhancing The Employability Of People With Disabilities

The startling need of the hour is to provide disability awareness training to able employees.

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Getting jobs for People with Disabilities (PwDs) is very challenging in India. A very small percentage of the employed PwDs are working in domains like Accounting and IT, a handful as graphic designers and very few are self-employed. 

The job market open for PwDs is still stereotypically in retail stores, housekeeping roles, waiters or maximum, a Data Entry Operator. These PwD employees mostly feel that they are not given equitable promotion as compared to the able employees. They also do not like their work environment because of the feeling of being left out, getting strange looks from colleagues, rude behaviour from colleagues, etc. Strangely they do not experience any cultural sensitization workshop at their workplace. Having said that, the startling need of the hour is to provide disability awareness training to able employees.

Centum Foundation conducted a survey on deaf with an objective to assess the awareness of the deaf about employment; understanding their aspirations and needs. The survey was done in several cities by a questionnaire over 500 deaf people, their families and employers. This analysis aimed to investigate the perception of the deaf employees and to define the perspective of employers towards them. 

Times are changing where the traditional methods do not work for students anymore. It is now time that we revolutionize our way of teaching our students and enhance their critical thinking skills. Lecture method is not something that is best suited to them. We need to adopt methodologies to let them come out and realize their forte and their hidden talents, empower and nurture their entrepreneurship skills. One of the examples of the same is to enact a mock interview in the class than just simply making them prepare answers to the questions asked in an interview. This helps them understand and grasp skills far better than the lecture method. 

The shift in the process of education needs to be revolutionary. Domain skilling that we had been offering might get PwDs a job but how does one sustain and grow in it? Smart education can play a major role in saving the next generation so that they don’t face the same problem and have a bright future. We need to see more visibility in a number of sectors like Corporate, Start-ups, Small and Medium Business, Digital Content Design and Management. The onus is also on the organizations to provide a level playing field and reasonable accommodation to include people with disabilities and reap the potential of this massive talent pool. 

Training modules have also been introduced to increase their employability by improving their communication skills, self-expression, self-confidence, awareness of strong aspects, pre-vocational skills.  With our years of experience in training, we prefer a specific kind of trained staff who follow global training methodology. We also have a high level of empathy which is why we ensure that a deaf is trained by a deaf thereby making the environment conducive for the learner. This mostly results in our training becoming expensive but we rarely compromise on the method of training.

We don’t need to rely just on the welfare ministries to support the cause of disability. The other ministries like the Human Resource Development Ministry need to encourage a change in the education system - the ancient pedagogy to an interactive methodology of teaching, The Rural Development Ministry needs to keep PwDs in mind and cater to their socio-economic growth in the rural sector as a whole, etc. 

In the whole process, one has to remember to involve the PwD in doing good for them, nobody can tell about them better than they themselves as they rightly say- “Nothing about us, without us.” They are citizens of India entitled to the same fundamental rights as able individuals. There are PwD role models around the world in almost every sector we can imagine starting from Politics, Education, Art, Science and Law.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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jobs person with disabilities work environment

Sanjay Bahl

The author is the CEO and MD, Centum Learning

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