The business sector is being rapped for not employing enough people with disabilities.
Council member of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Roxanne Brancker has called for more inclusion.
Speaking at yesterday evening’s launch the Barbados Council for the Disabled (BCD) Empowerment Card, Brancker said that “when it comes to the disabled in the workplace Barbados still has a long way to go”.
“A person with a disability should not be overlooked just because they’re hearing impaired, visually impaired, in a wheelchair, or some other reason . . . Hire or provide an internship for someone with a disability,” she challenged business places.
Brancker conceded there might be difficulties in employers finding the disabled person with the right skill to fill a position and suggested that businesses therefore needed a database of relevantly qualified people with disabilities.
“Such information would allow an employer to proactively include qualified persons with disabilities into the pool of applicants for jobs as appropriate . . . This is a situation which can be addressed by bringing together willing employers and potential employees with disabilities,” she contended.
In this regard, she called for regulation meetings involving the Barbados Employers Confederation, the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados and the BCD “to set up a framework which allows for some simple steps to be followed for persons with disabilities to gain employment”.
The former newspaper editor and current manager of a communications firm acknowledged that some businesses feared the cost of retrofitting their workplaces to accommodate the disabled, but said that was not fair to people who could do the job.
“This type of thinking effectively shuts out a group of people with a wealth of skills and knowledge simply because of a disability,” she lamented.