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Inclusion high on the Agenda of the Northern & Western Cape Region’s TVET Colleges

Inclusion high on the Agenda of the Northern & Western Cape Region’s TVET Colleges

The Workplace-Based Learning (WPBL) Forum of the Western and Northern Cape Region recently hosted the first of many workshops that emphasised the importance of TVET College placement for students that are differently abled. WPBL departments of the 8 TVET Colleges in the region along with various host employers, Student Support Services, Academics, and many other private companies, supported this much-needed event to ensure compliance and mitigate risks when recruiting new placement opportunities.

The workshop was led by Dr Marcia Ly­ner-Cleophas and Ms Lizelle Apollis both from the University of Stellenbosch, who took the attendees through a spectrum of Neurodiversity in the workplace and rea­sonable accommodation which included some case studies and disclosure.

One of the themes was the importance of Universal Design, and how best one needs to pay attention when amendments are made when new buildings are planned.

We have the wonder of technology these days that can indeed be used to adapt to function better and broader access;” said Dr Cleophas during the discussion on how a company or institution can broaden its access with less cost and initiating avenues that will link people who are differently abled with reasonable access and work in an inclusive environment.

What is seen as a reasonable accommodation of a person with a disability in the workplace and what is not?” “How does a college or a company accommodate them and maybe even recognize when a person has a disability and what can you look for?” All these questions were answered as Ms Apollis took the group through the various tell-tale signs and what colleges and employers can do to assist and accommodate these members of their team and or student population.

The biggest realization was that we need to go back to the drawing board, to strategically plan for neurodiversity at colleges and industry,” said Wendy Adams, Boland College Deputy Principal: Registra­tion Services and WPBL Regional Forum Chair. The forum will be hosting more such workshops to empower not only the college teams but also host companies willing to support placement, and therefore become more inclusive in the future.

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