On average, South Africa has a 7.5% of people living with disability. And the unemployment rate is 25.4%. This means that South Africa could use more people with disability in the workforce, because like most countries, every skilled worker is needed to contribute towards the prosperity of the country. People with disabilities are capable of making a possible contribution in the workplace, because they should enjoy equal rights and responsibilities just like other people do. However, finding a job as a person living with a disability can be quite hard if it is left to one individual. Employers are within their right to give reasonable opportunity, and although people with disabilities can find jobs, they need a helping hand ever so often, like every other person does.

Research has proved that a person with a disability develops into a well-adjusted, productive employee in an atmosphere of acceptance, cooperation, and goodwill. In fact, they are more productive, they show great loyalty to their company, and they are less absent from work. This makes them great contenders for any job they are qualified for. Often, the question; “Can people with disabilities get an opportunity to participate fully in the labour market without being unfairly discriminated against?”

The employment barriers can easily be eradicated and equality can be understood. However, this starts with awareness on both sides, so that the existing societal structures can refrain from invidious discrimination. People with disabilities have a right to fully participate in the society, particularly in the labour market. The Employment Equality Act provides that no person may unfairly discriminate, directly or indirectly, against an employee, in any employment policy or practice, on one or more grounds, including disability. There have been countless barriers, such as widespread ignorance and stereotypes that have caused unfair discrimination against people with disabilities in the workspace and in the society at large. However, people with disabilities are really good at various jobs some of us would shy away from

Did you know?

The field of computer technology has most people cowering or looking at those who are successful in this field with admiration. However, people who are visually, hearing and physically impaired excel in computer technology. Computer developments have had us see excelling bind or partially sighted lawyers, lecturers, music teachers, physiotherapists and marketing consultants. Not to mention that they are quite capable of doing manual jobs in the construction industry and be successful.

People who are hard of hearing or deaf do quite well in noisy jobs that would have negative effects on average people. Forestry, graphic art, medical technology, and banking are also successfully taken over by people who have hearing impairments.

It doesn’t matter what kind of disability somebody has, all that matters is equality in opportunities because most of the people with disabilities are very successful in their fields of expertise. Take Stephen Hawking for example. He was, and remains to be one of the greatest scientists worldwide, even though he spoke with the aid of a computer and was quadriplegic. In his own words, his success was because of, not in spite of his disability.

Inclusion in the workspace

All that is required of employers is reasonable accommodation. Inclusion is important.

The workspace should be more accessible according to the person’s need. Every office should have accessible toilets for people with disabilities, ramps for people on wheelchairs, special numbering on lifts for blind people etc. minor adjustments go a long way to ensure that people with disabilities are independent in the workspace.

People with disabilities are also required to have access to information and technology, e.g. Voice input/output software or magnifying software for visually impaired people and hearing aids for hearing impaired people.

ICHAF Training Institute is a SETA Accredited Training provider that strives to empower and up-skill members of the disabled community by matching them with prospective employers who seek candidates who are willing to learn. You can contact them now for top-notch services on their website.