Breaking down the stigma associated with disabilities
“Globally, people with disabilities are marginalised and excluded from full participation in society. In South Africa, people with disabilities face multiple forms of discrimination in various social spheres” – South African Human Rights Commission, Research Brief on Disability and Equality in South Africa (2017).
In previous years, the slow uptake of BEE policies has created a less than desirable result in our country’s transformation. Companies soon began to realise that policies were here to stay and today we see less resistance and more inclusion.
Beyond implementation, many companies have today allowed these policies to form part of its ‘bigger picture’. LFP Training’s Sales Manager, AJ Jordaan recently spoke to BizConnect by Standard Bank saying that today BEE is not a target as much as it’s a competitive advantage.
In times such as these and with great incentives to companies, are people with disabilities truly being incorporated into the system? AJ says: “There is a cry now for more youths to be upskilled through the YES initiative but what we are finding is that, no matter how much incentive is provided to companies, the uptake of training disabled persons and later integrating them into the workplace is still not top of the priority list”.
“Gone are the days of disabled persons being viewed as ‘lesser people’. In some cultures, disability has been frowned on in the past but what we are finding is that disabled people are now even more driven and want to be educated and enabled; the barriers of disability must now be lifted, and empowerment must take place”.
“With a historical background such as that of South Africa, the promotion of Human Rights is key to both our economy and society. We cannot deny people with disability and we cannot limit them from enjoying equal opportunities, yet we don’t see enough companies embracing the upskilling of disabled persons as part of their bigger picture,” AJ continues.
In a recent report, it was highlighted that the employment of disabled persons at various management and employee levels had decreased.
“Our campuses not only provide training but also mentorship. When we welcome new learners to our campus we often start off with people who lack confidence and belief in themselves. When they leave, they are hungry for opportunities and sadly, not everyone has access to these,” says AJ.
By partaking in Skills Development initiatives aimed at upskilling disabled persons in partnership with LFP Training, clients are eligible for the Tax Rebate incentive of R120 000 per disabled learner.