The last instalment of our series on the pillars of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concerns capacity building and training
The seventh pillar of the White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (WPRPD) is capacity building and training. It focuses on public institutions that need to ensure the development of in-house capacity so that the consideration of disability can be made mainstream across all programmes and services. This includes gaining an in-depth understanding, knowledge and experience of, among others:
• Mainstreaming disability consideration, which includes incorporating universal accessible design principles across the planning, implementation and monitoring value chain of all programmes, as well as putting measures in place to provide reasonable accommodation in an attempt to remove barriers of entry for people with disabilities; and
• Meeting obligations contained in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international regional rights instruments.
The directives to measure compliance include the training of personnel on providing services to people with disabilities.
All public and private institutions must ensure that personnel responsible for frontline service delivery, design and planning, budgeting, service delivery and the administration of justice undergo ongoing training on strategies and measures to ensure equality of outcome for people with disabilities in their programmes.
Additionally, disability equity and service delivery improvement training must be included in the annual continuous development programmes of all professional staff that render services to people with disabilities. Institutions also need to include modules on disability in all educational materials and courses.
Education materials across the learning spectrum must include modules on inclusion and disability equity, while all disability equity training courses must include people with disabilities (inclusive of parents) as part of the trainer component.
The further education and training band is seen as a critical cornerstone for people with disabilities to gain entry to the world of work. Public institutions are relatively well equipped to manage learners with disabilities. Where there are challenges, it’s imperative that the public institutions work with the appropriate disability organisations.
These reasonable accommodation of people with disabilities in a skills development environment will need to be considered on a case by case basis, as no form of reasonable accommodation will suit everyone. People with disabilities need to be included in the appropriate reasonable accommodation that will allow them to perform optimally.
The public institutions must be aware of the accepted disability employment equity target, which is 7,5 percent of the workforce. Currently, only about one percent is being achieved.
For employers to comply with the target of 7,5 percent, public institutions would need to provide the appropriately qualified candidates to fill these positions.
Public institutions should work closely with the respective SETAs, as many of them provide dedicated funding grants for learners with disabilities. The 7,5 percent target will in all probability increase by the next census.
The World Health Organization estimates that 15 percent of the world’s population is made up of people with disabilities, which implies that the disability employment target could be set at 15 percent. Therefore, interventions need to be proactive on the 15 percent target.
Rustim Ariefdien is a disability expert extraordinaire, who assists businesses to “let the Ability of disAbility enAble their profitAbility” through BBBEE, skills development, employment equity and socio-economic development. He ensures that businesses are able to maximise their points on the BBBEE scorecard and become compliant with legislative requirements as stipulated in the Employment Equity and Skills Development Acts. His purpose is the economic empowerment of persons with disability in Africa. As a person with a disability himself, he has extensive experience in the development and empowerment of persons with disability.