Corporates have, in the past, invested in the upliftment of the disabled as a corporate social responsibility initiative. Some companies such as the Lemon Tree Group of Hotels have even made it an innate part of their business model. Now, in a bid to increase job readiness and opportunity for persons with disabilities, Accenture has recently awarded a series of grants, worth Rs 48 million, to its non-profit partners, Dr. Reddy’s Foundation, Anudip Foundation and EnAble India.
Accenture’s move will be of great help in encouraging workplace diversity by supporting the disabled in finding and being able to take up work opportunities. The grants — a part of Accenture’s global corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed—aim to equip three million with job skills by 2020. They will enhance programmes that provide job skills to persons with disabilities in India and connect them to open positions.
Sharing the plan ahead, Rekha M. Menon, chairman and senior managing director, Accenture India, says, “Over the past five years, we have teamed with several of our Skills to Succeed partners to make a measurable impact on this community. We expect to have equipped approximately 20,000 persons with disabilities in India with job skills, by the end of fiscal 2017.”
Accenture has always strived to ensure an inclusive, barrier-free work environment that supports its people with disabilities across the globe. Most recently, Accenture was recognised as a ‘Role Model Company’ by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPDEP) — India’s leading cross-disability advocacy organisation. The recognition is part of NCPDEP’s 2016 Helen Keller Awards, which, for nearly two decades, have recognised companies for their commitment to providing equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.
“No inclusion agenda in India can be complete without a focus on the more than 20 million persons with disabilities in India,” Menon said. “This is integral to Accenture’s inclusion and diversity initiatives, and we remain committed to working across industries to build a more equitable environment, in the workplace and beyond.”
The grants will specifically support:
- Dr. Reddy’s Foundation’s GROW skilling programme — for persons across India with locomotor disabilities and hearing impairment — focussed on communication and work-readiness skills; skills for targeted service industries, such as information technology (IT), hospitality and retail; and basic digital skills. The programme also helps connect disabled persons with suitable jobs.
- The Anudip Foundation’s Specially Abled Vocational Education (SAVE) programme in West Bengal and Odisha, is tailored to the needs of the physically and visually challenged. The three-month programme provides IT and business-process-outsourcing-specific training informed by employer requirements and available positions.
- EnAble India, in scaling its innovative Namma Vaani system, through interactive voice response, uses mobile phones to create an interactive, inclusive social platform to create a network for persons with disabilities. Through Namma Vaani, these individuals are able to not only share their stories, but also receive information related to employment opportunities, government schemes and skills development programmes.
This announcement comes during Accenture’s company-wide, month-long celebration of the United Nations commemorated International Day of Persons with Disabilities. December 2016 marks the company’s seventh year of participation, with local events in 22 countries, including India.