The president of the Barbados National Organization for the Disabled (BARNOD) wants more to be done to assist the disabled community in finding a job after their studies.
In addition, Colbert Ashby said there was a need for companies to offer job attachments to people with disabilities so they could contribute financially to the Barbados economy.
“We find that children, after they leave the various learning institutions such as Ann Hill and the Learning Centre, there is nothing left for them to do. We are encouraged to go to tertiary education level so that we can access the educational system that we have here in Barbados, but even when we have a number of persons who have come through tertiary level who have graduated, they are still at square one,” lamented Ashby.
“There is nothing for them to really do. So I want to know if this innovation and technology that we are talking about if the disabled, who are a part of the vulnerable groups in Barbados, will be exposed to such training and teaching,” he said.
He was speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of the Skills For The Future Barbados Conference 2014 at the Hilton Barbados last week. The two-day conference, which was held under the theme Build, Innovate, Transform, was designed to among other things, identify the problems in the education systems in the region and find best practices and ways of addressing them.
“Right now in the organization we are trying this year to have job preparation [workshops] so that individuals who have skills who can work, let persons come in and show them the weaknesses that they may have when applying for a job that they will be able to represent themselves when going on job interviews and things of that nature,” reported Ashby.
He said there was also a need for programmes to assist people who became disabled while they have a job so they could find a new job or serve in other areas of their current place of employment.
Ashby said BARNOD was currently seeking ways of getting some employers to assist people with disabilities by providing them with job attachments for a maximum of two weeks without pay “just let them get the experience”.
“. . . There the employer can also identify the skills that the individual has that if possible they can involve them into their workforce. But how can you know what disabled persons can do unless they are given the opportunity?” said Ashby.
He said there was no data to show how many disabled persons were unemployed in Barbados but over the last year a number of parents called the organization because their child had nothing to do once they left school.
“The only thing that is left for them to do is to be at home. That is one of the challenges that we have,” he said.
“Yes, we are thankful to Government when they give us contribution from the National Insurance [Scheme] but if we are working instead of pulling from Government we will be able to contribute to the NIS and it is a win-win situation,” said Ashby.