Prudence Mabitsela, founder and MD of Dynamic DNA, a training and skills development company, said if you have a physical disability, getting ready for the world of work may seem daunting; however, there are some jobs that once you have received training, provide excellent career opportunities.
“If you have a disability, you should not be excluded from participating equally in the economy,” she said. “If you have the right attitude, aptitude and skill, there is no reason you should not excel in this career.
“Because ICT skills – particularly scarce skills like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and cloud computing – are in high demand due to companies increasingly relying on technology to do business, a career in IT offers great opportunities.”
Mabitsela said while some impairments like blindness are not at the level of inclusion that we would like, there are opportunities whether you are hearing, have a speech disability or are mobility impaired.
This Disability Awareness Month, she shares her insights on why ICT could be a great career for you if you are living with a physical disability:
Not physically strenuous
The ICT industry does not disfavour people with a disability and the job is not physically strenuous – making it perfect for you if you experience mobility challenges. There are some ICT jobs, however, that require physical strength, such as telecommunications installers and technicians, so be mindful when selecting a course to study.
In addition, with the availability of assistive technologies like speech to text, if you are living with a mobility disability or are hearing impaired, you could communicate with relative ease on email, WhatsApp and through work applications. It will just require some practice and access to these technologies.
Suitable ICT qualifications for people with mobility impairments are programmer, systems analyst, business analyst and software engineer.
Suitable ICT qualifications for people with a speech impairment systems analyst and programmer.
Opportunities for people with a hearing disability
While hearing is important to IT jobs that require strong interpersonal and verbal communication, there are careers suitable if you have a hearing disability, as well as visual libraries giving you access to course material. The most common careers are programmer, systems analyst, systems engineer, software developer, network administrator and website developer.
Inclusive training institutions
Many training companies, like Dynamic DNA, have adapted their learning environment to cater for people with mobility impairment, making our campus accessible and inclusive. If you have a speech impediment you can participate in learning at a pace and level to suit your needs and should you have a hearing impairment you get access to all learning materials in a visual format.
Also, our online learner platform allows you to do remote learning at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.
As remote working is now becoming an increasingly accepted way of working, effectively removing the physical barrier of access to the workplace, if you have a physical disability you can work from home. Many companies provide internet access as well as voice apps, which allow you to answer the phone from your mobile device.
As you may not have access to a specialised vehicle for travel and as some workplaces are difficult to access, remote working also removes these barriers for you.
Workplace readiness and mentorship
You may find yourself nervous about integrating into your work environment; however, other organisations provide learnerships with full learner management from training, hiring, workplace mentorship to successful employment, and complete administrative management of the skills development process to ensure the company taking you on also benefits from tax credits and levy reimbursements.
“While there are still some barriers for people with disabilities in the workplace this is changing through innovative assistive technologies, the support of South African companies who are becoming more inclusive, and the opportunity created by a growing IT skills gap,” said Mabitsela.