Blog by Dibyendu Das, Manager – SAVE Program
Integration of Differently-Abled Youth in workplace is a two-way process. Employers can remove barriers in the workplace while Differently-Abled Youth have to find solutions to break down those barriers in the workplace. Capitalizing on the job market is the responsibility of both groups.
To craft a successful business, diversity is very important in a company. For impactful and sustainable business, employers have come to the idea to hire Differently-Abled Youth. But practically, there is a lack of awareness and sensitivity among both employers and the youth about purposeful and appropriate engagement in the workplaces. We can ascribe low engagement of Differently-Abled Youth in mainstream jobs in two ways, from the view point of employers as well as beneficiaries’ perceptions.
If we perceive from the viewpoint of employers, the first fear which restricts the employment of Differently-Abled Youth is unknown associated costs such as new technologies, accommodation, disabled friendly infrastructure etc. There is a question in employers’ minds regarding additional supervision and volume of production. Very often it is seen that employers don’t know how to meet the necessities of a visually-challenged or hearing-impaired worker in the workplace. There is also the untrue perception that people with disabilities can only fill entry-level positions. The belief is that people with disabilities do not have the knowledge or experience required for more skilled roles. One more important thing is the lack of awareness or knowledge among employers about modern technologies which make smart workplaces for Differently-Abled Youth.
Now, if we perceive from the view point of the beneficiaries, it is seen that Differently-Abled Youth are rarely applying for jobs. Many Differently-Abled Youth have their own reasons for not going for jobs even after get selected for interviews. Sometimes beneficiaries feel that the available jobs are not accessible to them as they don’t have any hands-on experience or work experience. At other times they don’t want to present themselves as Differently-Abled in the workplace. And finally, there is the issue of relocation if the aspirant is coming from a rural area. In this case, transportation and disabled-friendly accommodation become an issue. Also, guardians often don’t feel confident due to their overprotective and caring nature.
To increase the participation of Specially-Abled youth into the workforce, an inclusive culture of respect and trust is required which can be created through gaining and spreading knowledge and generating awareness. The employers’ senior management should understand the need for diversity. Employers should come ahead and express their concerns while hiring. We all should value open communication to create a productive disabled-friendly work atmosphere. Employers must have the same level of confidence as an aspirant has after going through skill development and workplace readiness training. Recruitment policies and procedures may need to be revised after dialog.
Gradually job markets and workplaces are changing. Sensitisation is required for employers as well as beneficiaries. One of the most important aspects is the inclusion of modern technology in the training center and workplace to make things possible for Differently-Abled Youth. Together we can develop a respected, trustworthy, technology-equipped and modern workplace for Differently-Abled Youth.
Technology makes things easier for persons without disability but technology makes things possible for persons with disability