Life-changing opportunities for persons with disabilities

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December 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, provided a good opportunity to reflect on what companies can do in support, not only of their colleagues, but also for those persons with disabilities (or long-term illness) who are struggling to enter the job market or switch to jobs of tomorrow.

Not only can support in these areas often become life-changing for the person involved, but both the workforce and the company benefit from a more diverse talent pool.

It’s for exactly this reason, that Capgemini has launched a new Digital Academies program that offers high-end IT training to help bridge the skill gap and provide people with internships and job opportunities in an increasingly growing market that’s struggling to find the necessary talent.

With 52 Digital Academies active around the Capgemini Group, so far 4000 graduates have been equipped with the digital skills they need to enter the IT job market. At Capgemini alone, we are proud to say that more than 300 of those are now our valued colleagues.

Some of Capgemini’s Digital Academy training programs are dedicated to persons with disabilities and that raises another important point. It’s easy to think that persons with disabilities only have their disability to cope with, but on a day-to-day basis, there is far more to face. Sometimes a special approach is needed to address the stigma of disability. Persons with disabilities sometimes lack personal confidence and self esteem and suffer from mockery, discrimination and stereotyping. And above all, financial resources are often incredibly tight, so paying for training can be impossible.

One of the ways Capgemini is addressing these issues is through the LEAP Inclusion Digital Academy Program for Youth with Disability in India. In the LEAP Inclusion Digital Academies, the company works with young persons with disabilities in 10 skilling centers in India, training students on IT skills in .net, coding, data analytics, graphic designing, Java, SQL and more. Parallel to that, the major focus is also given to employability skills like aptitude, communication, personality development and other life skills which help the youth understand how to sustain their role in the workplace.

The focus is on persons in the 18-25 years age bracket, who are a school or college dropouts with locomotive disabilities, partial vision, and hearing impaired disability. To help them gain a foothold in the competitive job market, LEAP Inclusion Digital Academies provides training in relevant skill sets in a supportive environment conducive to the learners’ needs.

“Through this initiative, we have been able to address the stigma of disability in the workplace, and prepared them for the workplace in formal sector jobs”, says Anurag Pratap, Corporate Social Responsibility Leader, Capgemini India.  “Through multiple dialogues and inclusion initiatives, we saw a hiring trend of persons with disabilities in technology companies who are willing to provide a safe disability friendly work environment, with access to the required infrastructure and facilities.”

Across the Globe, similar initiatives have run in Spain, including a program introduced and run in partnership with The Goodjob foundation. This program provides 250 hours of training along with 9 months of internship (in Capgemini and other companies) and offers the chance of a job at the end of the process. Participants are trained in Cybersecurity and the methodology is powered by the National Institute of cybersecurity in Spain. What is important, is that Capgemini colleagues in Spain are participating as volunteers and imparting their experience in training sessions during the program.

“There are over 4 million people with disabilities in Spain, and only 34.5% of them are in employment. At the same time, as a business, we face a shortage of qualified technological profiles in the Spanish market. For this reason, businesses like us should invest in programs such as the INCLUDE project which helps to open the new talent pool”, says Maria Nieves Pacheco Cencerrado, CSR Lead in Spain and INCLUDE project manager. “This program is a win-win and an opportunity to incorporate diverse talent to Capgemini with an ad-hoc qualification to the current needs.”

With the right approach, companies can help change the lives of persons with disabilities and include them in the digital revolution. Research shows that a diverse workforce has become essential for companies to ensure innovative solutions for their clients. 67% of frontrunners believe that inclusive design is a source of innovation and differentiation. 56% believe that inclusive design increases revenue through increased usage and 51% believe it increases customer satisfaction*. The more diverse workforce, the more inclusive the tech solutions produced by these teams. Companies should open their doors and minds to a more diverse talent pool and provide persons with disabilities the opportunity to join the digital workforce and influence the digital world to have an impact, so that together we can get the future we want.

 

*The Key to designing inclusive tech. Capgemini Research Institute 2021

https://www.capgemini.com/research/the-key-to-designing-inclusive-tech/

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