Activities that lead to the inclusion of people living with physical disability, learning difficulties and people with a history of mental illness (these separate groups are collectively referred to here as ‘people living with disability’) are currently supported, encouraged due to a range of national and international policy developments.
This includes an underpinning policy and strategy adopted by the United Nations..
A picture emerges that while activities are taking place and commitments are real, much more needs to be done if the aims of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities are to be achieved. Barriers to employment still need to be eliminated.
This applies directly to the SME private business sector. The project partners are committed to the aims of the Convention completely: UEAPME recognises that people with disabilities represent 16% of all the Europeans, and are a source of talent and consumption, and believe that there is a need to support initiatives that promote community added value, such as social inclusion for people living with disability.
Directors and Managers of SMEs are proud that their environments have high potential to be supportive and nurturing where employees feel they have a space where they can be valued in a personal way.
SupportAbility is aware that this can be a particularly valuable asset for being inclusive so employees may wish to remain for many years.
However, SMEs can find including people living with disability a particular challenge due to a lack of information, resources and infrastructure to give the very specific help they may require over and above the broad generic community values provided in an SME environment.