The success of the QASA Work Readiness Programme greatly depends on the businesses that support the programme by offering the candidates placement opportunities. As QASA aims to secure permanent employment for candidates, it is important to partner with businesses that are serious about creating inclusive work environments.
Kemklean Hygiene Solutions has hosted several candidates with one candidate being formally employed. We spoke with Kemklean Human Resource Manager, Valentino Barends, to learn more about the organisation’s commitment to the programme.
QASA: What motivated Kemklean to host a Work Readiness Programme (WRP) candidate?
Valentino Barends: Social responsibility is one of the company values at Kemklean. As a business, we continually strive to make a difference. Partnering with QASA made it possible for Kemklean to meeting one of its company values, but, more importantly, make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities.
What was/has the experience been like?
Kemklean has hosted three individuals from the WRP since becoming a host employer with one of the candidates, Letitia Kamfer, becoming permanently employed for almost three years now. In short, it has been a good and rewarding journey.
What were some of the challenges you experienced?
During the initial stages of the partnership, the most challenges were experienced with regards to transport, which affected attendance at work. The employment of new employees brought about the need for refresher sensitisation training for new staff, as some of the new staff had difficulty understanding or even interacting with a person with a disability.
These were the only major challenges experienced. However, proper management of the overall process is required to identify and resolve matters before it escalates.
What are some of the benefits you’ve experienced?
The biggest benefit to Kemklean is knowing that a difference is being made and there is tangible proof of the company meeting one of its values.
Kemklean has hosted several candidates. Why does Kemklean remain committed to the programme?
This partnership is very important to Kemklean. As a South African employer, it is of utmost importance to provide job opportunities to people with disabilities. This is how positive change is brought about and how challenges are overcome within our beautiful and diverse country.
What advice do you have for other businesses in the process of employing people with disabilities or hosting a WRP candidate?
It is crucial for businesses to understand that once a decision is taken to employ and/or host a person with a disability, it will require continuous commitment to the process and needs to be done for the greater good of the person and the business.
I would strongly encourage businesses to consider partnering with QASA and becoming a host employer to give people with disabilities opportunities as they are just as capable of making a positive contribution to a business as an able-bodied employee – let us make the difference; it does not matter how small it seems.