Providing vocational skills and career development to young adults with disabilities
- TVET for Special Needs Young Adults in Low-Middle Income Countries
- Special Needs Initiative For Growth
- Country of Implementation
- Subsaharan Africa
- Start Year
- First published
“The career development programme opened my mind, and now I am a digital and media advocate.” Abiodun Emmanuel Oyeniran, Technical Support Staff
Special Needs Initiative for Growth is an NGO based in Lagos supporting people with disabilities. Starting in 2017, ING has worked with civil society and business partners to offer vocational and technical training. It runs workshops and trainings covering digital, vocational, and career development skills, and it builds the capacity of special educators to teach these skills. It also offers mentorship, internships, and business grants. From 2017 to 2020, some 1,300 persons have been trained.
Vocational training for people with disabilities in Nigeria often lacks appropriate materials, skilled educators, and career development support.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Special Needs Initiative for Growth offers accessible vocational training and career skills development workshops and bootcamps, with topics ranging from ICT entrepreneurship, robotics, and digital marketing to disability rights, journalism, and public speaking. These are often run in partnership with other NGOs, such as a two-year robotics and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) training programme partnership with Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria. The project also aims to build the capacity of special educators to teach these skills and has trained 570 educators since 2017. After completing programmes, trainees’ progress is monitored and evaluated to see what follow-up support is appropriate, such as mentoring, links to internship placements, or small grants for the trainee or his/her family to start a business. From 2018 to 2020, 153 persons with disabilities accessed internship placements in roles such as data management, logistics, and journalism offered by local partner organizations, including a radio station, libraries, and a transport company.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The practice is grant-funded from a group of corporate and non-profit partners that have contributed US$8,700. Since March 2020, Special Needs Initiative for Growth has started to move its training online due to COVID-19. It will continue working with partners to support access to training and jobs, and is also calling for the adoption of the African Disability Rights Protocol in Nigeria. In 2021 it plans to explore how ‘big data’ could identify needs for employment of people with disabilities and to use this information to scale its practice across Africa.
THE STORY OF ABIODUN: A VISUALLY IMPAIRED YOUNG ADULT TEACHING SOCIAL MEDIA
“Mass communication opened up endless possibilities.”
The “Career Beyond Sight and Sound Project,” which was held on 4 August 2018 by the Special Needs Initiative for Growth, was one of the life-changing opportunities that the visually impaired Abiodun encountered as a young adult in Lagos State, Nigeria. As a result, Abiodun was trained in mass communications and also supported with a mentorship. This opened his mind to the endless possibilities available to him in the media work space. Today, Abiodun is confident, astute, and technically savvy, and is using all of his training as a digital and media advocate for persons with disabilities. Currently, Abiodun is a staff member of the Special Needs Initiative for Growth, where he helps to provide assistive technology support to other visually impaired learners. Moreover, he has been engaged in a two-year leadership and technology bootcamp for visually impaired young adults across Nigeria, which offers technology and leadership resources so they can take up employment roles in society.