The Malta Chamber recently participated in ‘Yes for everybody’, a national conference organised by the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability. Policy Head Andre Fenech and Policy Executive Nigel Mifsud led workshops on the theme of ‘Disability in the modern workplace’, placing a specific focus on career development and progression, the future of work and how technology can enable more people to enter the workforce.
The Chamber officials highlighted the ever-changing work environment, which was brought about by the advent of increasingly cutting-edge technologies which were changing the face of existing industries, as well as introducing new ones such as AI and blockchain. These changes were offering new and previously unavailable opportunities for persons with different abilities, to join the workforce and contribute to the country’s economy.
The number of disabled persons registering for work saw a very sharp dip in the recent months, with the latest figures (published in September 2018) claiming that only 46 persons with a disability were looking for work. This was a significant improvement on the 244 of the year previous.
This meant that the various initiatives taken by all parties involved, no less the persons with disability themselves were bearing the desired fruit.
During the frank discussion, the Chamber representatives also discussed issues of limitations experienced by persons with a disability, in their career progress. Often these limitations were noted to be issues of perception.
However such perceptions needed to be addressed, even in the light of international studies. Persons suffering from certain types of disability will likely adapt very well to certain types of work, studies claim. In fact, persons suffering from Aspergers Syndrome are very well suited to take on careers in big data, software development and cyber security. This does not mean that we can compartmentalise persons, however it is a very good example of what in certain circumstances can be seen as a disability, may very well become an ability in others.