Training Outline

5.1 Standard Lecture: The Role of Information (1 hour)

  • Begin by emphasizing to participants that information campaigns play an important role in implementing laws promoting the employment of people with disabilities and in encouraging positive employment practices. Targeted campaigns can be particularly useful in reaching and impacting specific audiences with specific messages. For example, potential legislation and policies being introduced to provide certain protections for workers who sustained a permanent disability as a result of work would require a very specific outreach campaign that reaches deeply into existing industries and work places. In this example, it would be critical to recognize that this message may need to reach the entire workforce because these workers may all potentially be at risk of being disabled as a result of work-based injury or accident. Further, there may be common specific points of contact where industrially-injured and disabled workers meet and these places should be used to ensure the message is clearly broadcast or visible.

    If not electing to do the Optional Exercise listed below in “b”, explain to participants, using Transparency 81, that a well-designed information campaign targeting employers could, for example, send the message that workplace diversity makes good business sense. Diversity reduces the stigma that is often attached to disability by highlighting the working capacity of people with disabilities and the fact that many employers find their employees with disabilities to be excellent workers and an asset to the company. Another example of a good information campaign is one that would inform people with disabilities about their rights under the employment legislation, or trade unions about their role in ensuring that workers with disabilities access their rights.

    Explain that companies are increasingly responsive to a concept often termed Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by the leading business schools. CSR is a broad concept that promotes companies taking social responsibility whether it is to promote a cleaner environment, daycare for the children of workers, or to aim for social diversity in the workforce, including through hiring, retention, and promotion of people with disabilities. Companies now understand that a diverse workforce that reflects societal differences in gender, race, culture, sexual preference, etc., is ultimately good for business because people from diverse backgrounds are also potential customers.

    OPTIONAL EXERCISE (1.5 hours): Break participants up into six groups. Assign each group a critical stakeholder role in the employment process (e.g. employer, job seeker with a disability, current worker with a disability, trade union, family member of a person with a disability, and co-workers). Explain to each group that it will have 30 minutes in which to come up with an information marketing campaign to support the implementation of a new piece of disability non-discrimination legislation. Instruct each group, using Transparency 82, that it should ascertain the specific message(s) to be delivered, why it is important, and any anticipated outcome the group members think their message might have. Each group should select a reporter from the team to share the information campaign with the larger group. Allow each group ten minutes to report, followed by questions and answers in each case.

    Encourage participants to think of alternatives to potential high-cost information campaigns such as posters, kiosks, traveling plays, soap operas, etc. Also ask participants what measures they might be able to take to ensure alternative formats for the message to ensure the information gets to a broad array of disability groups and stakeholders.

  • Ask participants to generate a list of options that exist for promoting a general information campaign. Responses might include radio, newspaper and television advertisements, ads in public transportation vehicles, etc. List their responses on flipchart paper.
  • Change direction slightly and ask participants to assist in generating a list of options that might be used to promote a more targeted information campaign. What if the aim was to reach employers exclusively or people with disabilities or trade unions? Would the same approaches hold true or would the tactics adopted need to be more customized?
  • Close this part of the lecture by reminding participants that well-planned information campaigns are crucial and to be effective must be designed to address the specific requirements of the different stakeholders involved. Emphasize that in addition to general information campaigns, provision should be made at the planning stage for technical advisory services targeted at stakeholders such as information and advice on technical aids and adaptations, job placement, financial incentives, and other employment supports that may be required. Explain that this will be dealt with in much greater detail later in this module.

    An Example of an Effective Information Campaign

    In Poland, an organization called Integracja was started more than 20 years ago by Piotr Pawlowski, after doctors told him that he could never work following an accident that left him with quadriplegia. Today, he runs a major organization with 40 employees that produces a glossy, 90 page magazine with the highest circulation (more than 15,000 copies) of any Polish magazine of this type. The magazine, which features national and international information on a wide variety of subjects, such as how to find a job, is just one part of this multi-faceted NGO. Integracja carries out public education campaigns to change public attitudes, demystify disability, and emphasize the abilities of people with disabilities. Among many other activities, it runs training courses, has its own programme on public TV, co-produces other radio and TV programmes and maintains a database of disabled individuals. One of its successful campaigns promoting barrier-free travel resulted in two guidebooks about Warsaw and Krakow published in Polish and English. It works to sensitize students through presentations in schools and universities. It promotes greater accessibility to various businesses by sponsoring competitions such as ‘Pharmacies without Barriers’ and ‘Hotels without Barriers’ and works with the trade associations to promote these competitions.