Education and employment are the two biggest barriers facing disabled people in New Zealand; but they both require a change in order for the other to succeed.
It’s a case of needing to get it right in the education space first, to then raise the probability of employment for disabled people once they enter the workforce. The ever-growing exclusion of disabled people from mainstream education on has a double-ended, and very detrimental consequence.
Detrimental to right of the child to learn on an equal level to their peers, and detrimental on the economy at the other end of the line. Not to mention the only other alternatives, which are often vocational programmes and a life-long reliance on the benefit.
Employment For Disabled New Zealanders Starts With Equal Education
Like their peers, disabled people also have the capability of being future business owners and leaders of New Zealand. But it starts in school, and that’s where the big change is required.
The biggest barrier disabled people face to gain employments is the attitudes by the mainstream businesses. How do you change that? Education. If disabled people can be given equal access to education, by having an system that is equipped to deal with their diverse needs, the result has a result that is both positive and impactful. It’s positive that the person has a good education behind them, but the real impact is the message that it sends to the rest of their peers in school and tertiary.
But, is it really possible to simply make all these changes and say with certainty that disabled people will find employment, or even be able to work?
The Biggest Change Required Is In Attitude…
The disability sector talks so much about the attitudes and stigmas that exist in “mainstream society”. Not only does that conversation immediately segregate the two communities, which should be seen as equal, but it also gives an excuse to disabled people.
Words like “capability”, “cost”, and “compatibility” get thrown into the conversation. All are excuses, and all can be worked around if both the Government, the advocates, and the providers could all get around a table to have an open discussion.
It’s not about disabled people being “capable” of working at all; it’s about the changes that need to be made, in both the disability sector and the mainstream, for them to be on an equal playing field. The rest is down to ideology and excuse.