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Breaking down the Stigma Associated with Disabilities

26 Jul 2018

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’. “We always say this, but BEE is not a target as much as it’s a competitive advantage,” says LFP Training’s Sales Manager, AJ Jordaan.

In times such as these and with great incentives to companies, are people with disabilities truly being incorporated into the system? “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”.

As an accredited training provider, LFP Training specialises in the training of unemployed, disabled persons and deals with the lack of confidence and a want to be treated equally by disabled persons every day. “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”.

“Globally, people with disabilities are marginalised and excluded from full participation in society.”

“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.

“Providing disabled persons with access to education and later, access to the workplace will help improve the lives of some 3-million people”.

In a recent report, it was highlighted that the employment of disabled persons at various management and employee levels had decreased. AJ explains that the findings are disheartening, saying: “Does this mean that we are failing disabled people and perhaps creating a stigma once again?”

AJ also notes that LFP Training has trained more than 4500 people in partnership with corporates. This once again begs the question of ‘where the rest are and how do we reach and enable them?’

“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.

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