09 Apr 2019 | Press Release No. 14
As part of the award of the Inclusion Prize for business on 9 April 2019 The Federal Labour Office (BA), the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA), the Federal Association of Integration Offices and Principal Welfare Offices (BIH) and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) launched their joint initiative "Appointments count - gain employers".
The initiative is designed to encourage employers to take on people with serious disabilities. It focuses on selected companies and businesses in Germany that as yet neither train nor employ seriously disabled people, according to notification procedures. There are about 41,000 of them. There is a total of some 160,000 companies in Germany that are subject to employment rules, and the initiative is designed to address them and give them advice and support. Its core objective is to give employers information making them more aware of the potential of seriously disabled people, thus encouraging them to take them on.
“Despite the generally positive state of the labour market", - said Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, - "the unemployment rate among the seriously disabled is still substantially higher than it is for the population as a whole - even though seriously disabled jobseekers have above-average qualifications, we have almost full employment, and industry is desperate to recruit specialists. This contradiction must be resolved, but for that we need more companies to give people with disabilities a chance. This joint initiative is a major step in the right direction."
"For many years", says Valerie Holsboer, Director of Resources at the BA, "the BA has been employing a high proportion of people with disabilities and training young people with serious disabilities. We are delighted to have increased the proportion of our seriously disabled staff members to just over ten per cent in 2018. As a recruiting employer, we are pleased by every single application we receive from the disabled. After all, the demographic trend will deprive us of a third of our workforce in the next ten years. Our employees have been putting the idea of inclusion into practice for many years, and we want it to be firmly established in the labour market too. So, we are appealing to all employers to take on people with serious disabilities, giving them a chance to contribute their talents and potential."
"This initiative", says BDA President Ingo Kramer, "is an idea whose time has come: there are shortages of specialist staff, and we want to give as many people as possible access to training and gainful employment. Specific, practical examples from companies are always the most persuasive example. Together we are determined to redouble our efforts to make inclusion work for everyone involved."
"All I have to say to companies", says Christoph Beyer, Chairman of the Federal Association of Integration Offices and Principal Welfare Offices (BIH), "is this: take a chance! The BIH supports employers throughout each working relationship, not just at the appointment stage. They always have someone helpful at their side, from the Technical Advisory Service to the Integration Service. And this initiative has yet another valuable effect: the more disabled people get a foot on the labour market ladder, the more normal it will become for us all to live together. Inclusion is always a matter of what we experience."
The initiative kicks off on 10 April 2019 in the six Employment Agency districts of Aachen-Düren, Erfurt, Freiberg, Cologne, Neumünster and Reutlingen with a standard letter to the employers concerned. After the pilot phase has been evaluated, it is scheduled to be extended nationwide in 2020.
The BA is in operational charge of conducting the initiative, which is supported by the Diversity Charter and the Unternehmensforum e. V.
The INKLUSION company network is involved in the initiative's pilot phase. It will increase awareness of inclusion by directly approaching businesses and including them in its networks, facilitating dialogue with employers with experience of inclusion.