It’s not all doom and gloom: The Dutch, taking the ‘dis’ out of disAbility

I have a tendency to pick news stories that get me a little irate and over opinionated that I felt the need to write about a positive story, something that the Dutch are doing which is really commendable.

Klijnsma Jetta, Secretary of State for Social Affairs made an announcement for €100 million to be put towards making jobs made available for vulnerable workers. By vulnerable they are referring to those individuals with disabilities and learning difficulties. This concept will help so many people I’m surprised it has taken so long to come into force. Not only will his help people with difficulties to have a little responsibility and individualization it will help the families of those individuals to see their sons, daughters, brother or sisters etc to not being held back unnecessarily by such limitations.

Over the next five years, municipalities will be given €100 million extra to be used on creating workplaces to those with limited abilities. According to the Telegraaf, a total of 30,000 ‘sheltered’ workplaces will be created for people with disabilities. In total there are approximately 125 000 people with learning disabilities that this scheme is aimed at, of whom 100 000 should end up with companies and 25,000 with the government and additionally 30,000 sheltered workplaces eligible for the those that require additional support. What a fantastic initiative! In society these days we are very quick to judge an individual by their limitations as reasons why they cant do certain jobs or work in certain ways when what we should be looking at is adapting the working world to suit those able and willing to work. Just how they can divide roles up according to their provision of 100,000/25,000/30,000 plans eludes me somewhat but the sentiment and the idea is fantastic! In many countries where this concept has been adapted there has been a huge success why not harness this approach in The Netherlands.

In the UK it was found that around 65% of people with learning difficulties want work but sadly only 7% actually do and this tends to be part time and mainly men. The UK have tried to focus on the ‘abilities’ of people with ‘disABILITIES’ which has proven rather successful but this scheme wasn’t exclusive to learning difficulties more those with physical impairments. You can read the UK Equalities Act of 2010 here.

foto app bijzonder welkom-1Bijzonder Welkom from The Netherlands offers more than 600 special companies in every sector that employs people with disabilities. Their website it a bit like a standard job site but it is tailored to meet those with learning difficulties and disabilities. Its a fantastic initaitive and one which i hope will grow thanks to the Governments new stance.

With every government initiative one cant help but think of the issues that can arise; what we do have to realize, similarly to my view with regards to women in work etc, some people just cant do some jobs, end of. This isn’t discrimination, this isn’t sexism or ageism or in any way disrespectful it’s a matter of fact and I just hope that these jobs being created by the Netherlands will have that in mind. I think they will. All risks of possible bumps in the road will be preempted and, like I said, the concept and plan is brilliant. There are many people who fall into the category of ‘vulnerable’ who are completely capable of going to work and more than willing to do so. There will be obstacles along the way but that’s life; such as the cost of training, and workplace adaptions etc. but they are rather menial when you look at the bigger picture and what this promises to so many people with difficulties what just want to work.

Well Done Netherlands! I whole-heartedly approve and support this concept and with the Budget due next Tuesday I’m rather looking forward to seeing what else you have to offer!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s