The International Labour Organisation and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry today launched ‘Opportunity for All’ programme.
This is a comprehensive program of training and in-factory assistance to help enterprises to develop an HIV prevention policy and strategy and a disability management policy and strategy.
Ten manufacturing companies, employing over 15,000 workers in four northern provinces in Vietnam will join the first “Opportunity for All” programme, which will help enterprises improve their bottom line through reducing the costs of HIV and disability in the workplace, and through hiring people with disabilities.
International and local research shows that people with disabilities make loyal, efficient and productive workers thus reducing the costs of recruitment and staff training due to low turnover, as well as tapping into a new customer base of family and friends of this large population.
Rie Vejs-Kjeldgaard, director of the ILO Office in Vietnam explained ‘Keeping such a large number of people with disabilities unemployed is a huge burden on Vietnamese society. Employers are willing to provide employment for people with disabilities, but they do not know how.
“The Opportunity for All programme will provide individual advice to enterprises and link them with employment services who can help.’
There are 370 million persons with disabilities in the Asia Pacific, 238 million of them of working age. Their unemployment rate is usually double that of the general population and often as high as 80 per cent or more.
In Vietnam, the 2009 Census shows that 7.8 per cent of the population or 6.1 million Vietnamese have disabilities.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs estimated that 69 per cent of these people were of working age (16 to 55-60) and only around 30 per cent of them had a job and a stable income to support themselves and their families.
This low rate of employment is a significant cost to families and government who have to provide support.
Opportunityfor All is part of the Decent Work Country Programme of ILO Vietnam aiming at ensuring access to decent employment for vulnerable groups including people with disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS on an equal basis as other members of the society.