Job matching might be the raison d’être of CareER but that doesn’t mean the organization works like your usual recruitment agency.
To begin with, CareER specializes in linking up persons with disabilities with job opportunities. But more importantly, it runs specific programs to fulfill its mission and objectives.
The CareER Jockey Club Thriving Grass Career Development Program(Thriving Grass Program) is one such program that illustrates the distinctive approach of CareER.
Tailored for higher educated persons with disabilities and special educational needs, Thriving Grass Programme is a trailblazing two-year career development program designed to provide self-development opportunities to improve employability and raise workplace confidence. Participants are given a holistic pathway to build self-confidence and develop personal skills so that they can succeed in leadership roles.
“For employers, the program also provides them with a great opportunity to assess the suitability of persons with disabilities in a workplace without a heavy commitment. What sets us apart is that we provide a host of supporting services, such as coaching and mentoring, to help our members succeed,” Ada adds.
Another special feature of the Thriving Grass program is that there are currently more than 20 participating employers, and one-third of them are corporates, with the remaining two-thirds are either non-governmental organizations or small and medium-sized enterprises.
“The centralized approach in the program allows us to help our members to find the right job for themselves. For example, some are keen to work in an NGO, while others want to work in a corporate setting. And the beauty of this program is that we can make that happen. This is important for persons with disabilities because this helps them to have a better understanding of their capabilities in the sense of how their disabilities would interact with the realities in the workplace,” explains Walter Tsui, CareER’s co-founder.
Another notable feature of the Thriving Grass program is that it encapsulates the philosophy and methodology of CareER.
“The employability of our members helps us to differentiate their level of readiness so that we can pinpoint the kind of services they need. Some are ready to join the workforce, and all they need is some tips and advice. Some are not quite ready, and they need different kinds of support. Some require extensive support because of their personal history – unhappy experiences or they have difficulties in accepting that they have disabilities.
“Let’s imagine CareER as a caterer – the Thriving Grass Program is like a semi-buffet menu. The starter is the initial assessment of the members’ career aspirations and employability, and the main course is the summer internship. To complement the starter, we also serve salad or hot soup, and in this case, it means the coaching, counseling and mock interviews. And we haven’t forgotten the accompanying drink – peer support for our members – it is with them all along their journey,” continues Walter.
While the program provides opportunities for eligible persons and prepares them for entering the workforce, it also gives employers a trusted platform to familiarize themselves with inclusive practices. “The program serves as a gateway for employers to access a pool of skilled youngsters who happen to have disabilities. Through the internship, employers can see for themselves the value these youngsters can bring to them. Also, if they are happy with their performance, they can offer them permanent roles,” says Walter.
Reflecting on the level of awareness in relation to the hiring of persons with disabilities, Walter notes that there is no doubt this is an area that has seen significant improvement over the years. However, he says that while the level of awareness has increased, it has yet to translate into sustained actions.
Walter hopes that with CareER’s expertise and its innovative programs, employers can make the hiring of persons with disabilities as a top priority. He looks forward to the day where genuine inclusive hiring practices are the norm not an exception across sectors.
In the third part, we’ll start looking into success stories and see how the Thriving Grass program helped these businesses to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals.
CareER provides career development and campus supports for higher educated persons with disabilities and SEN, meanwhile, promotes equal opportunities and disabilities inclusion at the workplace.
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The CareER Jockey Club Thriving Grass Career Development Program is tailored for higher educated persons with disabilities and Special Educational Needs (SEN). During the program, participants will be given training opportunities to build self-confidence, improve personal competence, as well as develop leadership and communication skills. For more information, please visit: https://career.org.hk/key-program/
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