First Employment and Occupational Learning Conference Concludes With Calls to Integrate People With Disability
All of society must come together to integrate and empower people of determination – especially, private companies, concluded participants in the inaugural Inclusive Employment and Occupational Learning (ICIEOL 2017) as the event concluded today (Monday, December 11) at Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre.
The two-day event was sponsored by the Dubai Community Development Authority (CDA) and organised by Qualifications House UK in collaboration with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Human Rights Day. The event is rooted in the “My Community... A City for Everyone” initiative, which seeks to make Dubai a friendlier city for people of determination, in line the inclusive employment pillar of the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020.
Harmonising Efforts for Inclusive Employment of People of Determination
CDA’s Director General His Excellency Ahmed Abdulkarim Julfar said: “The great turnout witnessed at the inaugural Inclusive Employment and Occupational Learning, as well as the constructive debates that ensued, underscore the importance of inclusive employment for people of determination. This is a top priority for the UAE government and public alike; it demonstrates that we are on the right path to an inclusive society.”
“We must work together to implement the legislation approved by the government in this regard to support the Dubai Disability Strategy 2020. Inclusive employment calls for significant participation from the private sector and social organisations, who are strategic partners in our quest to empower people of determination,” H.E. Julfar added.
The Journey to Inclusive Employment
Experts in inclusive employment presented their visions at the Conference, calling for all those involved to provide supportive environments for people of determination to compete in the labour market. “We must avoid trying to find jobs suitable for people of determination, but rather strive to find the right people for the right job, whether they are people of determination or not,” they insisted.
Ahmad Al Mulla, Head of Community Relations at Tamkeen, said: “One of the most important challenges facing people of determination in the labour market is potential employers’ lack of confidence in their capacity to do their job, as well as the wider public’s stereotypical views towards this segment of society. Therefore, it is necessary that we work together to remove this obstacle that prevents the integration of stakeholders in society and create a supportive environment for them to be active members of their communities.”
For his part, Dr David Holliman, Director General of Seglow Group, outlined three areas we must work on to achieve integration: education, the labour market and the work environment. “It is necessary to work with people of determination on all three of these areas,” he said, cautioning that “we cannot create environments without first determining their abilities and potential, and then we can create appropriate employment opportunities where they can contribute effectively in their communities.”
“This requires time,” Dr Holliman added; “it is necessary that we have the whole community on board to ensure that employment is decided based on a person’s merits. It is also crucial to have all sectors on board and work on a global scale to lay down the rules and foundations for this development.”
Meanwhile, Professor Shawn Pift of the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said: “Education must be based on equal opportunity for all students to benefit from the possibilities and the tools it provides. This is the very mission of the education sector, therefore, it is necessary to remove all obstacles limiting people of determination’s access to the expertise and skills they need to confidently enter the workforce.”
“With that in mind,” he continued, “the Authority has drafted the necessary legislation and strategies to facilitate the full integration of people of determination and we urge all schools to make the appropriate adjustments. We have so far sensed the full cooperation from all relevant parties, and I believe Dubai is making a lot of achievements in this area, setting an example of a friendly city towards people of determination.”
Inclusive Employment in the UAE: Challenges and Solutions
A series of workshops was organised on the sidelines of the conference, most notable of which was the workshop led by Dr Hussein Ali Masih, Development and Social Welfare Specialist at the Community Development Authority in Dubai, which looked into developing executive regulations for inclusive employment, inspired by the requirements of Law No. (2) of 2014. Concerning Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Emirate of Dubai.
The workshop focused on how to ensure non-discrimination in the labour market, evaluating the main challenges standing in their way and developing solutions to address them.
“This Conference, which brings together all parties with a vested interest and influence in this sector, provides a platform for an in-depth look into the challenges facing people of determination, as well as the foundations for solutions to address them. To achieve full integration, we must set the right foundations, foremost of which is the provision of the necessary skills that enable people of determination to compete in the labour market on an equal footing.”
The workshop tackled a number of challenges, proposing suitable solutions to guarantee equality in the workplace and combat discrimination against people of determination. Foremost among these measures is separating monthly salaries from social support, in addition to providing transportation for people with motor disabilities and establishing a positive environment across organisations and companies.
ICIEOL 2017 aims to identify the employment needs of people of determination, as well the requirements and conditions for successfully integrating them in the labour market, through a series of lectures, discussions and workshops that are set to take place throughout the two-day conference, led by top-tier academics and experts in the field of vocational education.
Community Development Authority
The Community Development Authority (CDA) was founded by a decree of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in July 2008. CDA is responsible for setting up and developing a framework for social development, and aims to achieve the goals outlined in the Dubai Strategic Plans.