There is much buzz and conversation within the business world around the topic of developing future skills to ensure that our talent pipeline keeps pace with our demands in business. Organisations are overtly committed to investing in building these future skills so as to remain competitive. What we need are specialized skills, innovative thinkers, problem solvers, adapters, and those who challenge the status quo in their approach. Who better to add insight into ‘doing things differently’ than persons with a disability who have had to use all of these skills to compete in a world which excludes! Don’t miss this opportunity to invest in a massive potential talent pool which has, up until now, been largely ignored and excluded, yet has huge value to contribute.
One way to build this future talent pipeline of persons with a disability, particularly within countries which offer skills development tax incentives, is to offer Bursaries which will unlock opportunities to study further and specialise. In the case of persons with a disability, expanding that Bursary Programme to include a support element that considers each student’s individual and unique requirements to succeed becomes an often- critical success factor.
Here are a few of those supportive elements which should be considered in a Bursary Management Programme:
- Know how to effectively tap into the pool of driven individuals with a disability who are proactive in their ambitions and determined to succeed. This does not mean channeling all your efforts towards social welfare and NPO organisations that represent disability, but rather means recognizing that talent with a disability is out there in general society. Your job is to communicate the opportunity your organizing is providing to unleash this talent through equal opportunity channels which recognise the individual’s future value.
- Ensure a fair selection and onboarding process which appreciates and recognizes each bursar’s specific requirements to compete equally. Allocate skills development spend to include not only the academic fees involved in registration and study, but also financial access to these specific enabling factors, whether they be in the form of an assistive devices/technology, transport alternatives, learning formats or environmental accessibility adjustments and so forth.
- Provide direct access to a ‘go to’ coach who is available to assist the student with tackling any barriers experienced along their journey. Whether this involves providing assistance in ensuring adjustments to the educational environment, or support in constructively addressing attitudes and stereotypes which may exclude, this support creates impact not only in assisting with the immediate challenges identified, but goes a long way to empowering the individual with the tools to resolve similar challenges in their future careers. The role of the ‘go to’ coach is to add strength to the student’s voice where exclusion becomes a barrier, to add encouragement when the going gets tough, to add knowledge when a solution is needed, and to build talent which knows their value to our future.
- Consistently nurture the relationship between the sponsoring client and the bursary recipient, as this is imperative for long term career opportunities to be realized. Progress reporting on student activities, sharing successes with the Sponsor, and earmarking the student for workplace experience programmes goes a long way towards ensuring that the future talent is primed and ready to add value. Personalised vested interest in the Bursar results in good long term relationships with potential talent due to a sense of loyalty and mutual respect from both parties.
Bradshaw LeRoux Consulting’s Bursary Management Programme is not only designed to support the building of future talent with a disability, but is designed to develop future change agents who use their talents and skill to showcase the value of disability to our future success. Within the South African context, where most training spend for Persons with a Disability tends to be earmarked for entry level Learnerships which have little conversion success into a long term career, such Supported Bursary Management Programmes present as an excellent alternative to nurture and develop our future talent.
Contact Lesa Bradshaw to find out more about Bradshaw LeRoux’s Bursary Management Programme.