The employment in 2022 looks poor according to the latest Employment Equity Report
Disability Employment Equity statistics have not improved according to the latest Commission on Employment Equity Report for 2022. The current percentage is 1,2 percent, which is slight reduction from the 1,3 percent achieved last year. This does not bode well for the employment of persons with disabilities. Inflation is creeping up at an alarming rate with the cost of living ever increasing. Interest rates have steadily increased over the past months. This has increased the value of bond payments, which significantly reduced disposable income. Loadshedding has impacted the economy which, in turn, affects expenses and incomes. Unemployment levels remain high, which limits job opportunities.
With all this negativity, how can persons with disabilities ensure their financial wellbeing through employment? Skills development remains a good way to enter the world of work. Working towards a NQF level 4 (or matric equivalent) is good goal to set. Persons with disabilities should be encouraged to remain on a lifelong journey of learning to improve their options for gaining or advancing in their employment. They can enter universities, TVET colleges and private training institutions. There are various disability-specific funding options available through SETA grants, bursaries and NSFAS, to mention a few.
Learnerships presents the opportunity to gain a qualification, work experience and earn a stipend over a 12-month period. There are industry-relevant learnerships that will give persons with a disability a passport into their industry of their choice. Learnerships can be used as a progression tool where a candidate moves through the various NQF levels and improves their employability.
Persons with disabilities will need help traversing the challenges that employment will present. They should be discouraged from the dependence on disability social grants and rather see these as augmenting their earning potential. They should understand their ability and what they can offer. Society needs to play its part to assist persons with disabilities to realise their potential. It needs to network with relevant platforms to present them with the best opportunities to achieve their financial independence.
Government legislation presents numerous mechanisms that promote these opportunities. Business understands the advantages of employing people with disabilities, particular in terms of their Employment Equity compliance. We need to motivate persons with disabilities to ultimately take responsibility of their financial wellbeing. They need to be steadfast in their employment aspirations, even with the employment landscape seemingly bleak. With perseverance and persistence, they can achieve the rewards of employment and live a fulfilled life.