Employment opportunities for persons with disabilities are crucial for them to live meaningful lives. After all, persons with disabilities are not that different from non-disabled persons, and they share pretty much the same characteristics. They are men and women of all ages living in urban or rural areas, with distinct personalities and sharing the same abilities, aspirations, and desires.
Their type of disability influences the work type that a disabled person can do. Whether that individual has an intellectual disability or a physical one is important, but it is not defining.
Individuals with disabilities can still have the skills and abilities required to perform a job or obtain knowledge. But to do so, they must learn to live with and embrace their disability and live independently as much as they can.
Why employment opportunities for persons with disabilities matter
The right to work is a fundamental human right enshrined in national constitutions and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. At the same time, someone can also find non-discrimination clauses in the above or in national and EU law that protects workers against various forms of discrimination, including disability.
These provisions assist all people with disabilities who want a dignified and productive life away from government benefits. Although government benefits are essential to secure a decent livelihood for many disabled persons, it does little to give them a more fulfilling life.
For many, having employment and working daily does not just secure an income but is also an excellent vehicle for social participation. For this reason, employment opportunities for persons with disabilities are essential for their social inclusion in our society.
Different disabilities, other capabilities
Despite the protection of worker’s rights for people with disabilities, there are still many prejudices around these people. Employers are typically reluctant to hire disabled persons as they usually require special accommodations in the workplace.
When we want to speak about jobs for persons with disabilities, it is essential to clarify that different disabilities equal different capabilities.
For example, a blind person cannot efficiently perform jobs that a deaf person can and vice versa. That is why, even though we want to be inclusive of employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, not all jobs can be performed by everyone. That’s why they need to focus on specific types of jobs that their disability is not also a handicap.
The new wave
In the past, people with disabilities had limited opportunities for work, and they survived mainly on government benefits. Unfortunately, as this was the norm for many years, this created a benefits culture that proved detrimental to their rights and well-being.
Thankfully the tide seems to be turning. As our society strives to become more inclusive for people with disabilities, at the same time, those people seem more adamant to claim their position in society as equals.
In the past few years, many steps have been taken towards the right direction at the European level. The social inclusivity of disabled persons has gotten a new dynamic for creating employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Whether this is enforced by the state or is a company policy, businesses have begun realizing that giving jobs to people with disabilities helps them in various ways.
Ideal jobs for persons with disabilities
Hoping not to have bored you setting the background on this critical issue and putting our discussion in context, it is time to proceed to our main question. What are the top employment opportunities for people with disabilities? Let’s find out.
With the advances of technology in communications and cloud computing, especially during the pandemic, running your business from the comfort of your home was never easier. Being an entrepreneur from home is essential for people with disabilities as they can have their own accessible space fit for their needs.
Nowadays, there are many opportunities to start a business, like setting up an e-shop or reselling items online on platforms like Amazon or eBay. All you need is to find a viable business idea that you can perform at home. Being your own boss increases your self-empowerment, guarantees employment, and helps you have significant financial gains.
Coding is one of the current top digital skills for someone with significant demand in the world of work. That is why coding is one of the best employment opportunities for people with disabilities. Learning how to code is accessible to almost anyone, even to blind people.
Similarly to having a home business, coding offers flexibility and can practically be done from anywhere in the world.
3. Customer Support
Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic that created disruptions in many lines of businesses, there was an apparent demand for customer support positions. Starting as a customer support agent is typically easy, requiring some basic digital skills and communicating effectively. Of course, this job would not be suitable for people with hearing impairment, but otherwise, it is the right job for persons with disabilities, which can quickly be done from home.
The educational sector can accommodate the employment needs of a lot of disabled persons. By becoming teachers, they are not only doing a meaningful job, but they also serve as role models for the younger generation. Young children need to see that a disability is not something to frown upon, and you can still have an active social and professional life.
Other job ideas related to teaching is childcare and tutoring. Disabled persons can transform their homes as such to accommodate the needs of children to play and learn.
Beethoven was blind, but that did not stop him from becoming one of the world’s most admired composers. Becoming an artist may seem like a daunting idea. Still, many examples prove talent and the willingness to succeed can overcome all the obstacles imposed by a disability.
Some examples of employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the arts sector include:
- Graphic Designers
- Video editors
Disability is a fundamental and common social issue that we encounter daily in our lives. Even if a handicap does not affect you directly, there is undoubtedly someone in your circle who has some disability. Therefore, we should be sensitive to the matter. Unfortunately, in many cases, especially in the past, people with disabilities were treated as second class citizens. From the simplest example of moving around the city, to going to school, disabled persons were essentially barred from leading an active and social life.
However, through years of activist work for disability rights, there is a shift towards a more inclusive society that considers more, when planning, these vulnerable people.
Most importantly, with the maturity of technology and society, disabled persons are now more empowered to lead an active, fulfilling and self-reliant life through employment in suitable jobs for people with disabilities.
The contribution of Skills+ European project to labour disability inclusion
Skills+ is an Erasmus+ European project dedicated to showcasing talent in people with disabilities to combat existing prejudices. At the same time, the Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED) and its partners want to train those individuals and equip them with the necessary skills for a successful professional life.
The Skills+ is, first of all, a competition and a platform for all people with disabilities in the European area. In this competition, the participants can show the world that their disability is not what defines them as individuals. These are hardworking people that can be an inspiration to us all.
For this competition, Skills+ defined the following professional categories as the ideal sectors with jobs for persons with disabilities:
- Green Jobs
- Social Health and Care
If you are interested to learn more about the Skills+ competition, you should visit its official website.
If you wish to become partners with iED for European projects related to social inclusion, do not hesitate to communicate with us.