Scores of persons with disabilities are benefitting from greater access to skills training and employment opportunities under the Social and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Project.
The US$2.9 million programme is funded by the Japan Policy Human Resources Development Grant and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank).
It also involves partnership with the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), and is implemented through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Beneficiary of the programme, Abilities Foundation, has spent over $14 million since January to provide its students with employability skills and work opportunities.
“It has been one of the best projects, in terms of impact in the workplaces. The impact has been extremely positive, as many persons with disabilities have been empowered, and feeling better about themselves,” Managing Director, Abilities Foundation, Susan Hamilton, said.
She was speaking with JIS News at a development workshop held at the institution’s Constant Spring Road offices on August 9.
Ms. Hamilton, underscored that along with the training of persons with disabilities, the organisation, through the programme, was able to launch its website, as well as improve its social media presence.
“That has been phenomenal in engaging the public, and ensuring that persons know who we are…we couldn’t do that with our normal budget,” the Managing Director added.
The development workshop was held for 18 of 40 students who participated in the Summer Apprentice programme. The students were able to learn more about workplace protocol, following feedback received from employers.
Ms Hamilton said that this was necessary as it will “ensure that our students get all the soft skills needed to transition into the workplace.”
Meanwhile, student at the Abilities Foundation, Janet Wright, said coming to the organisation was “the best choice I have made.”
“When they send you to jobs, employers don’t look down on you, because they know the institution that you are coming from,” Miss Wright said.
Another beneficiary of the Summer Apprentice Programme, Barrington Roberts, said it “has helped me to gain more experience.”
“Abilities [Foundation] focuses on helping individuals, and training persons so that they can be successful,” he told JIS News.