We should first invest in people for a life without barriers

3 December 2018

As the original texts are written in Turkish, English translation is provided for non-Turkish readers. The author apologizes in advance for any and all possible changes and losses in meaning due to translation.

Announced as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by the United Nations, 3 December is a very important day to all of us. Aiming to attract attention to the difficulties that the disabled individuals face and to develop solutions for the elimination of such difficulties, 3 December once again reminds us that we should all act together to support this cause.

Disabled individuals face common difficulties both in our country and in the world, the most important of which is employment. Employment is first and most of all a human right. The right to employment is important to all individuals and should be emphasized especially as it plays a critical role in integrating the disabled into the society. There is another dimension to the problem: To reach its sustainable development goals, our country needs not only investments in production or exports, but also a people-oriented approach. We should first invest in people for sustainable development and a life without barriers. The business world as a whole has a responsibility in achieving this goal.

Employment of the disabled is very significant not only for the disabled individuals and national sustainability goals, but also for companies. Diversity is one of the major values that reinforce a company. As Siemens, we adopt diversity as a fundamental principle and believe that companies can prosper by benefiting from different perspectives provided by diversity. Within the scope of this approach, we implement positive discrimination for the disabled individuals. Adoption of a similar approach can contribute greatly to the employment of the disabled in Turkey. However, there is still a long way to go. According to the report by the General Directorate of Services for Persons with Disabilities and the Elderly of the Ministry of Family, Labor, Social Services, “Number of Disabled Individuals Required to Be Employed” was 15,241 in the public sector and 106,481 in the private sector as of May 2018. Yet “Number of Working Disabled Individuals” was 12,515 and 98,948, respectively. These data clearly reveal that the private sector still has room for the disabled. There can be many reasons for that, including lack of appropriate positions or lack of a qualified workforce of the disabled to meet the requirements. However, as the business world, we can change this and close the gap especially by training a qualified workforce of the disabled through training programs.

That is why we have recently launched the Digital Bootcamp at Siemens Turkey. With this camp, we combine our company’s focuses on contribution to the society, diversity, and digitalization. With this project designed specifically for university graduates with disabilities, participants will be given digitalization and software trainings for 3 months and receive “Siemens Digital Certification” following the testing. Then, in order to obtain professional experience in their areas of expertise, they will be employed for various positions at Siemens Turkey. I believe that the project, the first term of which started on 26 November, will train young disabled people who are competent in the new digital world and contribute to the employment of the disabled in our country.

I hope the number of such initiatives as Siemens Digital Bootcamp increases to ensure significant gains for both the disabled and the business world. Let us never forget that the problems experienced by the disabled are not their problems only, but also those of the whole business world. Wishing to solve these in unity…

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