The majority of people with disabilities have never participated in employment training schemes that can boost their chances of finding and retaining a job, a new study has found.

The research found that out of 336 people with disabilities interviewed, 61.3 per cent are in employment. Of these, 55.3 per cent never had any form of job training.

When it comes to those who were unemployed, 62.3 per cent never had job training, even though 59.2 per cent would be willing to participate in a job training scheme. The study shows 41.5 per cent of unemployed respondents are actively looking for a job.

“If there were more such schemes, more disabled people would have the opportunity to find employment,” Anne-Marie Callus, a senior lecturer within the Department of Disability Studies, University of Malta, said.

“But there must also be individualised support so that, if something is not working, it is dealt with on a one-to-one basis.

“This includes support to provide the link between home and work, for example in getting ready for work, getting to and from work.”

The EU-funded study – Research into the Current Situation of People with Disabilities and Employment in Malta – was commissioned by the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) in collaboration with the Ministry for Social Solidarity.

If there were more such schemes, more disabled people would have the opportunity to find employment

The research was conducted through a public tender to Ernst and Young (Malta) and led by Callus with the assistance of Arianne Attard.

The research found that “there seems to be a positive correlation between being on an employment training scheme and subsequently receiving a job offer. Employed people with disabilities are more likely to have been offered a job at the end of the job training scheme.”

Job training would provide them with the skills they need.

In fact, “having the skills to do the job” was listed as one of the factors that people with disabilities considered when taking up a job or training placement offer.

This was alongside factors such as working conditions, getting to the workplace or training venue, the possibility of teleworking and job likeability.

That was why the study recommends providing individual career guidance for students with disabilities to increase their chances of fulfilling their career potential.

Recommendations also included providing tailor-made job-coaching to all individuals with disabilities and increasing the number of incentives and schemes which provide daily support and assistance to individuals with disability, especially in the case of transportation to and from the place of work.

Guidelines for employers launched

Just over half of employers have not previously offered a job to a candidate with disabilities, the study shows.

This emerged from interviews with 52 employers and three focus groups attended by 28 employers’ representatives.

The study showed that 51.9 per cent of employers interviewed never offered a job to a person with a disability, mainly because they did not consider the applicant fit for the job, thought the applicant had insufficient skills and knowledge for the role or due to having better candidates for the post.

It also resulted that 63.5 per cent of the employers have at least two per cent of their employees registered as disabled while 23.1 per cent pay the annual contribution.

By law, at least two per cent of the workforce in companies having 20 or more people must be listed in a Jobsplus register containing the names of people with a disability. Employers must make an ‘annual contribution’ of €2,400 per person below the quota, capped at €10,000 per employer.

Some 15.4 per cent of companies have employees with disabilities who are related to someone else within the company, while 25 per cent have employees who became disabled after joining the company. Here, 92.3 per cent retained the employees who become disabled after joining the company.

The CRPD launched Employers Guidelines to help through the process of employing people with disabilities.

These guidelines can be found here.

Fact box

• 28.6% of employed respondents have a physical impairment, 20.4% an intellectual impairment, 16.9% a severe medical condition, 12.2% visual impairment, 12.2% mental health difficulties and 9.8% have hearing difficulties.

• Of those in employment, 24.8% perform clerical duties, 18.9% are in elementary occupations, 14.6% are professionals and another 10.2% are at managerial level.

• Employees with disabilities’ average wage in Malta is (up to) €800 monthly.

• 58.3% of the currently and previously employed respondents are/ were full-time.

• 59% of respondents worked for five or more years at the same workplace.

• 55.8% of employed and 66.3% of previously employed work or have worked in the private sector.

• 26.7% of employed respondents have/had a paid job within organisations working in the disability sector.

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