PHNOM PENH: The National Employment Agency (NEA) is collaborating with relevant institutions and agencies to host a two-day job fair at the Koh Pich Convention Centre where over 20,000 job opportunities are being presented. From November 10-11 over 150 companies, manufacturing enterprises, public institutions and training establishments are providing opportunities for young people to seek employment and gain insights into the skill requirements of the job market.
One of the booths at the job fair focuses on pairing employers with people with disabilities. The PAFID (People’s Action for Inclusive Development) booth aims to provide employment accessibility in agriculture and leadership and to provide them with more health access. “We’re working with some of our people with disabilities from urban and rural [areas] especially to try and develop CVs, have job interview skills and practice, linking them up with employers,” said PAFID International Director David Curtis.
He noted some of the challenges faced by people with disabilities in Cambodia when it comes to finding employment. “Some of the challenges can be around accessing education,” he said. “If you don’t access education, it’s hard to access further education. If you don’t have further education, to get employment can be challenging.”
Mr. Curtis was hopeful for the fair’s turnout, saying that a couple of people who had sought help at his booth had already found employment by the first morning of the event.
Senior Atlantic Fellows, Haibin Zhou, was impressed with the large turnout of companies at the fair and said it shows their willingness to incorporate people with disabilities into their work. He noted the value of such job fairs when it comes to bridging the gap between employers and employees.
“Sometimes the company doesn’t know what skills [the applicants] have and for people with disabilities, they are afraid. ‘Which company will employ me?’ So there is kind of a mismatch,” he said. “So this kind of job fair matches the two sides so they can know each other and have successful employment.”
By helping job seekers with disabilities, the organization helps raise their confidence so that they can have job interviews on site.
“We find that the people with disabilities are going to be more confident. When they see the employers welcome them they also find that they have opportunities. I think this kind of confidence is very important and for Cambodia,” he said. “It’s better that they find jobs and that they have a sustainable career future. It’s food for Cambodia and good for their family as well.”
The Cambodian government has set a 1% quota for private entities to hire persons with disabilities, while the public sector must meet a 2% quota. The government also just issued Disability ID cards which it hopes will help identify useful data that will allow for more specialized initiatives based on the needs of Cambodia’s disabled population.