Volume 3 Issue 24 - December 15, 2005

Two-day career development forum held for promoting inclusive employment opportunities

D.N.I.S. News Network - Action for Ability Development and Inclusion (AADI) and F.I.C.C.I.’s Socio Economic Development Foundation (S.E.D.F.) organised a two-day career development forum for promoting inclusive employment opportunities to mark the World Disability Day.

Inaugurating the event, Rajya Sabha Member Arun Shourie stressed on the need to make disabled people part of the mainstream workforce by bringing their capacities to the fore and allowing them to contribute to the country’s economic growth. It will also enable companies and organisations to stretch their pool of creativity, he added.

Moving towards adopting an inclusive way of working, inculcating a culture of accepting the potentialities of disabled people and enabling them to enjoy equal rights and duties came up for discussion during the course of the two-day forum.

Delivering the keynote address at the event, F.I.C.C.I.-S.E.D.F. President P. M. Sinha informed that F.I.C.C.I. has embarked on a new initiative called Action for Harnessing Employment Avenues for Disabled (A.H.E.A.D.) which aims to increase access to decent employment for disabled people.

"Persons with disability represent a rich talent pool that is often overlooked. When employers hire qualified employees with disabilities, they discover untapped skills, talents and abilities. Knowledge and skills can be acquired but ultimately it is the attitude that counts," a media report quoted him as saying.

Furthermore, he added that F.I.C.C.I.-S.E.D.F. is committed to enhance the employability of disabled people in the private sector and will persuade the top management of the companies to consider such people for in-house training and employment.

Chairman of Rehabilitation Council of India lan Cardozo drew attention to the Disability Act 1995, and said that it is one of the most important legislations on the methods that can be used for employing disabled people, but the issue is by whom and how these laws are going to be implemented. There is a marked difference between doling out charity for the disabled and enabling their effective integration in the socio- economic mainstream.

It is the latter that needs to be done today in a bid to create a diverse work force - a work place culture that treats disabled and non-disabled equally, a place of work that is sensitive to the needs of the disabled working population. "Unfortunately the country sees disability as a problem, whereas the need of the hour is to look at it as a priority," he lamented.

A.A.D.I. Chairperson Divya Jalan outlined the rationale for organising this unique career forum: "It was important to provide a three-way platform for the meeting, an opportunity for the people with disabilities and organisations working with them, an opportunity for potential employers and very importantly an opportunity for the training and mentoring institutions which could bridge the gap between the web of the employers and the skills of the potential employee".

On the opening day, the forum witnessed a large participation from people with different skills eager to showcase their talents and talking with potential employers and N.G.O.s for sustainable livelihood programmes and careers.

More than 50 stalls were busy imparting information on employment opportunities, training and educational options, concessions and facilities, and loans and support systems available for them.

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