Jockey Club Collaborative Project for Inclusive Employment HKU Hosts Seminar on “Leverage Resources for Inclusive Employment for People with Disabilities”

To open up more possibilities for people with disabilities (PWD) in the society and leverage community resources to facilitate inclusive employment, the Centre for Civil Society and Governance (CCSG) of The University of Hong Kong (HKU) joined hands with four NGO partners, CareER, Heep Hong Society, SAHK, St. James’ Settlement, to launch the Jockey Club Collaborative Project for Inclusive Employment, which is funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. Today (November 6), the project organised a seminar on “Leverage Resources for Inclusive Employment for People with Disabilities”

The Honourable Bernard Chan, Chairperson of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS); Ms Alice Lau, Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare of the HKSAR Government; Mr Leong Cheung, Executive Director, Charities & Community of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Professor Wai-Fung Lam, Director of CCSG of HKU, and the heads of the four NGOs partner of the Project officiated the launch of the seminar.

In his welcoming remarks, Professor Wai-Fung Lam said, “To foster a sustainable society, social inclusion and inclusive employment are highly important as indicated by a community-wide survey we have conducted recently. Respondents with exposure to PWD (e.g. family members, co-workers, acquaintance) were more aware of the implications of working with PWD, and are generally more supportive towards inclusive employment. These findings show it is an opportune time to implement this project which creates opportunities for different stakeholders and PWD to work together to promote inclusive employment and social inclusion.”

Meanwhile, the seminar brought together various stakeholders including policy makers, representatives of philanthropic and social service sector, teachers, carers and general public to discuss the current situation of inclusive employment and prospects of leveraging community resources and collective efforts to facilitate inclusive employment.

The Hon. Bernard Chan and Mr Leong Cheung, delivered keynote speeches on “Promoting Inclusive Employment for People with Disabilities” and “Innovation in Collaboration in Building an Inclusive Environment” respectively.

The Hon. Chan said, “We believe that raising public awareness on the abilities of PWD, and facilitating sustainable collaboration among business sector, community organisations, NGOs and government departments are essential for the co-creation of employment opportunities for PWD and building an inclusive society.”

Mr Cheung said, “Today’s seminar is an important platform for the project. It enables representatives from different sectors to gather together to discuss the current situation, opportunities and community resources for Hong Kong’s inclusive employment. It also facilitates the exchange of views on social inclusion developments. As one of the world’s top ten charity donors, the Club will continue to collaborate with different partners and adopt innovative thinking to launch and support timely and diversified projects to build an inclusive society, as well as to support people with different abilities to face various opportunities and challenges. For the Club’s purpose is the betterment of society.”

They were followed by a panel discussion on “Charting different paths for inclusive employment: opportunities and challenges” with Ms Agnes Ho, Chief Social Work Officer (Rehabilitation and Medical Social Services), Social Welfare Department; Ms Amanda Fok, Founder, Let’s Talk ADHD; Ms Ong Pei Ti, General Manageress, Dignity Kitchen HK, and Mr Howard Ling, Chief Consultant of Social Enterprise Business Centre, HKCSS, as the panellists. They shed light on how different operational models including self-help groups and social enterprises have been adopted to facilitate inclusive employment for different types of disabilities as well as the crucial role of community resources and social innovation in developing new models.

Also announced at the seminar by the CCSG was the launch of the Project’s “Platform for Inclusion” website. Through the new collaborative platform, PWD and organisations supporting them can create their portfolios, enabling them to showcase their wide-ranging abilities and talents for members of the public and businesses to easily engage them for these services.  Employers can also post job vacancies on the platform to recruit PWD. Containing multifaceted information relevant to different groups of stakeholders, it is a one-stop shop, complete with information for PWD who want to prepare themselves for employment, for employers who wish to hire PWD and procure inclusive services, for social sector practitioners to share and learn about best practices, and for interested members of the society who are ready to take action to contribute to inclusive employment.

For more details about the Project, please visit the website: www.platformforinclusion.hk.

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