Gives disabled people a better chance
(Fornebu, 21 February 2006): A survey reveals that Telenor’s Handicap Programme (HCP) has succeeded in becoming a springboard for physically disabled people who want to enter into working life.
This year, Telenor’s Handicap Programme celebrates its tenth anniversary. The objective of the Sintef survey has been to map the consequences the Handicap Programme has had for participants, businesses as well as for society at large, since it was first introduced in 1996. The conclusions drawn by Sintef have been very positive. Approximately 80 employees, with various physical disabilities, have participated in the programme, and around 75 per cent of these have now found permanent employment. Since 1996, the programme has saved society around NOK 25 million, which would otherwise be payable as disability insurance. In its report, Sintef also argues that the cooperation between Aetat and employment centres should be further strengthened, so as to make this initiative better known.
“The report shows that HCP has successfully reached its principal goal, which is to function as a springboard for people with physical disabilities, providing them with an opportunity to enter into working life,” says Head of Telenor’s Handicap Programme, Ingrid A. Ihme.
“We want to contribute to bring about a change in the attitude towards people with physical disabilities, and normalise their role in working life. The programme enables us to offer handicapped people the relevant know-how and work experience that is required for them to break out of their reliance on social security,” she adds.
Three out of four have found regular employment
The survey shows that three out of four participants in the programme have since acquired regular jobs. Around half of these feel that this is due to their participation in the programme, and that they would not have found employment were it not for the programme.
Most companies feel that employees with physical disabilities represent a valuable addition to their working environment. Some companies have also argued that employees with physical disabilities have a positive effect on the work ethic and sickness absence ratio of other employees.
“The programme should be capable of inspiring similar programmes at other companies. The knowledge of HCP is still limited, although Telenor is making an active effort to provide communication about the initiative,” continues Ingrid A. Ihme.
The Handicap Programme is also involved in the process of establishing a similar project in Sweden. “Open up” is a EU project and a pilot project inspired by Telenor’s Handicap Programme. People with physical disabilities are given practical training that will enable them to find permanent work. As of February 2006, 20 new participants will be ready to join the programme.
Telenor’s Handicap Programme is a two-year development and work training programme for the physically disabled. The programme offers participants work experience that involves courses, relevant work experience, and follow-up. Formally, HCP is defined as Working with Assistance. Each year, between 15 and 20 participants join the programme, and in 2006, 19 participants will take part.
The data for the survey was compiled during focus group meetings and through individual interviews with participants and managers, and through a survey conducted among previous and current participants.
For more information:
Reidun Skøien, Sintef, Oslo: +47 92617276 (Reidun.M.Skoien@sintef.no)
A photo of Ingrid Annette Ihme is available on:
- Contact Information
- Ingrid A. Ihme
- Head of Telenor’s Handicap Programme
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