26 January 2023

Mapping Learning to Earning Opportunities

One in ten youth have a disability. Compared to their peers without disabilities, they are up to five times more likely to be outside the educational system and not in employment or training. Though both youth with and without disabilities face multiple challenges in their transition from learning to earning, youth with disabilities are even less likely than their peers to find safe, sustainable paid work due to stigma and discrimination and lack of inclusive quality education and vocational training programmes.   Several countries in Eastern and Southern Africa provide government sponsored skills-building and training to youth with disabilities in both special and inclusive settings. Despite these efforts and emerging promising practices, limited outreach leaves youth with disabilities and their families unaware of initiatives. In addition, employers, mentors and investors often do not have processes in place to successfully onboard interns, mentees and employees with disabilities, and some may be reluctant to host them at all because of negative perceptions of disability.  Gathering insights from various government, UN and NGO stakeholders, a targeted mapping of the situation of learning to earning for youth with disabilities provides several recommendations to practitioners to make learning to earning initiatives inclusive and impactful. This includes, for example, designing learning to earning programmes together with youth with disabilities, adapting learning content and teaching methodology, providing targeted career guidance, and collaborating with employers to transform workplaces into more inclusive working environments.