While the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities may be widely acknowledged, demystifying and highlighting the largely marginalised disability sector as well as the sourcing and accessing of relevant skills within this sector often continue to pose a challenge.
On Friday 23 October, a Workplace Readiness Programme brought together hundreds of skilled learners, associations, and business in one virtual space to address these very challenges. 6 schools in Gauteng, 1 in Bloemfontein and 1 in Mpumalanga, all heard from inspirational South African entrepreneurs and stakeholders within the disability space about how to prepare for life beyond school.
“As part of the annual Disability Summit, now in its 9th year, this Work Readiness programme provides an opportunity to inspire, inform, motivate and educate. It also enables South African corporates to network, share challenges and opportunities, discuss industry best practices and define a fully inclusive path forward for disability in the workplace,”Paddy Slattery, founder of the Mandeville Disability Swimming Centre of Excellence
And he also started the Disability Summit, organised by Creative Space Media.
- Sebenzile Matsebula – From polio to prosperity: The start-up story of this inspirational South African entrepreneur who is the Executive Director of Motswako and proof that disability is not a barrier to success.
- Duncan Yates – As Learning Disabilities Co-ordinator at the Disability Rights Unit, Wits University, Duncan spoke about how learners with disabilities can adjust to university life and that students with disabilities should not be hindered from having a great university experience.
- Atiya Asmail – As Cultural Liaison at e-Deaf, Atiya told students that a disability should not prevent them from having the job of their dreams. The job market accommodates people with a wide range of qualifications, passions, talents, and abilities.
- Tarryn Mason – Taryn, who is Managing Director at Progression Recruitment, gave sound advice to students about how to write a compelling CV as well as other tips about how to ace an interview.
Rory Preddy – Rory, Senior Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, shared with the students about the transition into the working world and how to navigate the job process. He also emphasised that the support of family, school staff and even the involvement of community service providers and resources can assist with this transition to independent living and integration into the community.
“eDeaf are proud to partner with initiatives brought together by Creative Space Media. Deaf learners often leave school thinking “What Now?” eDeaf provide a bridge between leaving school and entering the world of work by facilitating accessible training in South African Sign Language. They can then choose to continue with their studies through learnership opportunities or be placed on our database as job seekers,” says Atiya Asmal, Cultural Liaison at eDeaf. “Our post placement support services allow seamless integration of Deaf candidates into the mainstream workforce,”.
All presentations on the day were interpreted by sign language interpreters from eDeaf, and this event was made possible by a host of sponsors including Citadel, Barloworld, Armscor, Massmart and Telkom. Goodie bags including refreshments and stationery were donated by Bidvest Waltons, CCBSA and Spar.
“Bidvest Waltons is honoured to have partnered on this wonderful initiative. We believe in the power education has to unlock the potential in every learner and we continue to work with our communities to uplift- and invest in- tomorrow’s leaders. We would like to thank Creative Space Media for facilitating our involvement in this initiative and allowing us to contribute – albeit in a small way – to its success” – Olivia Rungasamy, National Category Manager – Schools, Bidvest Waltons.
“Making the transition from a student to life after school can be difficult as it is, and when coupled with a disability, the challenges faced become greater. The key is to shift our perception of physical disabilities and help equip them with skills that can help them make a success of life. Our aim in sponsoring this program is to upskill, inspire and empower these kids to be the next business leaders of SA,” says Jean de Villiers, Citadel Head of Philanthropy.
Schools Involved included:
- Hope School – Pallinghurst Road, Westcliff, Johannesburg
- Muriel Brandskool – Muriel Brand Street, Brakpan, Johannesburg
- Adelaide Tambo School – Diokane Drive. White City, Jabavu, Soweto
- Filadelfia School Block Bb W, Soshanguve- Rr South, Soshanguve, Gauteng
- Ithembalihle School Elm Road, Primrose, Johannesburg
- RoodePark Skool, Discovery, Roodepoort, Johannesburg
- Rosenhof High School Gustav Cres. Fichardt Park, Bloemfontein
- Bethesda House Of Hope – Middleburg