Although South Africa has some of the best legislation to support the integration of people with disabilities (PWDs) into the workplace, it does not necessarily create a situation that gets them into the workplace and their numbers in the workplace are not growing significantly. One of the challenges to including PWDs is a lack of workplace experience.
In response to this Services SETA, in association with Brite Byte, is piloting a unique 3-month programme for People with Disabilities (PWDs). The Work Readiness Programme will combine work-placement with Feuerstein cognitive enhancement training.
The Feuersteing cognitive programme is a truly exceptional and alternative approach to people development. It starts with a dynamic assessment (using a test-teach-test methodology versus the static test methodology which tells you that you scored X%) in order to identify the cognitive strengths and weaknesses of each participant. The strengths and weaknesses are then developed through the enrichment programme that will span 3 months and will be bridged into the work realities that the participant faces.
Dovetailing this, the participant?s unique cognitive makeup will be identified and mapped or matched to suitable jobs. The value of this process, named “cognitive mapping, is because very often PWDs fall short of the classical “job spec? but may in fact have the cognitive potential for a job. This will identify the cognitive landscape rather than the qualification shortfalls.
The programme aims to target 200 participants over about one year.
The advantages to the Employer are:
- No costs: The participants are paid a stipend of R1000.00 per month by the Services SETA and therefore the employer does not have to pay them (although they are free to add to this amount); furthermore, the participants are put through a cognitive enrichment programme which is paid for by Services Seta, and assists the PWDs to enhance cognitive functioning;
Company fit: The participants are contracted with a fixed term contract for three months during which the employer is able to identify the person?s potential and assess whether the PWDs can be integrated into the company after the internship; the ultimate goal of the project – if the participant is see to have potential in that company – is permanent employment. The entire process will be supervised by Brite Byte who deals with the recruitment and placement of people with disabilities.
o Employment Equity: in process towards a more equitable workforce, outlined in the Employment Equity Act, this will assist companies to reach their Employment Equity goals in terms of PWDs in a meaningful way.
Obligations of the Employer are:
- To provide the PWD interns with a meaningful work experience that will add value to your workplace as well as to the work exposure and experience of the PWD
Mentor the intern in order to broaden their work skills and abilities
Consider integrating the intern into the company employ on a permanent basis once the internship is complete
Objective of the Internship:
- To upskill the PWDs in order to make them more employable and to expose the company to people with disabilities and individuals with a host of skills who can add manifold talents to the business
To increase the number of people with disabilities working in companies
There is no obligation to employ the person with a disability at the end of the three month internship.