Training is not often readily available to persons with disabilities, and many training centres will not accept a person with a disability because of the assumption, such a person will ‘slow down’ the learning process for others. As a result, this is reflected in the workplace.
There is a lack of reliable information about the nature and prevalence of disability in South Africa and in the 2011 Census, because ‘disability’ was redefined as ‘having difficulties with a series of tasks such as seeing, hearing and walking’, the census recorded higher figures than in previous years.
Statistics South Africa reports in its 2011 census that more than 90% had no difficulty or limitation that prevented them from carrying out certain functions at the time of the Census. Compared to 5% in 2001 that reported that they had a disability that prevented them from ‘full participation in life activities’. In the Eastern Cape, this figure rose 0.6% to 5.6%.
The Association of Persons with Disabilities in Port Elizabeth estimates the employable population of persons with disabilities (age and ability-wise) to be at approximately 50%; this estimates the employable percentage to be approximately 2.8% of the population. Why then is the number of people with disabilities employed 0.8% ?
Siyaya looks to change this, and offers learnerships for people with disabilities to make them employable, and allow them to develop a career for themselves.
The learners on Siyaya’s scheme did not have the opportunity to complete their school career, and many cannot afford to study. With the Siyaya learnerships, learners are supported by companies like SMSPortal which gives them the necessary classroom time, and workplace experience needed to achieve a qualification and gainful employment.
Charles Stretch, SMSPortal’s MD explains: “For the 2013/14 period, we are supporting four students in their Commercial Cleaning Level Two qualification. In the previous year we supported the same four students during their level one. To continue their studies is a great achievement for the learners, and goes a step closer to more disable South African’s earning an income and becoming independent.”
Central to the qualification is the development of a culture of quality service and professionalism in the hygiene and cleaning services industry, and the qualification intends to produce employable cleaners and team leaders.
Author: Kimberley Nanson