Mental Health Awareness Month July 2018

July marks Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa, and there is no better opportunity to highlight one of South Africa’s most prevalent topics – mental illnesses.  The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) reported that in 2017 1 in 3 people in South Africa, will experience a mental illness in their lifetime and that 23 people commit suicide every day. With these numbers rising over the years the need for education on this matter is more important than ever. With such a vast amount of South Africans being affected by mental health conditions, it is exceptionally vital that we dive deeper to gain an understanding of what having a mental illness means and work to eradicate the stigmas attached to it. By educating fellow South Africans, we can help to break the silence and eradicate discrimination. With South Africa being ranked as the 2nd most stressed nation, it ...
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How Learnership Allowances can Reduce your Tax Bill
by Tarryn Mason

Did you know that investing in Skills Development under a formal learnership provides you with the opportunity to claim a tax deduction according to Section 12H of the Income Tax Act? Section 12H of the Income Tax Act states that employers are eligible for an allowance in respect of qualifying ‘registered learnership agreements’ entered into between the employer and employee.   This learnership allowance tax deduction was due to come to an end in October 2016. However, after National Treasury conducted research into the effectiveness of the allowance as a way of successfully creating employment opportunities and growing the economy, a decision was taken to extend the learnership allowance.   The allowance serves as an incentive for employees to train and upskill employees and non-employees, especially people with disabilities, thereby encouraging skills development a...
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Unpacking the Amended B-BBEE Codes
by Steven Lekalakala

On the 29thof March 2018 Dr. Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry, issued Government Gazette 41546 which deals with amendments to the B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. The proposed changes to the Codes should be implemented in October this year. Steven Lekalakala, Business Development Consultant and B-BBEE Expert at Progression, takes a closer look at the proposed changes to the Skills Development element of the scorecard. Poverty and a lack of education go hand in hand. Inaccessibility to higher education and training remains one of the major barriers to overcoming poverty in South Africa. One needs to further educate oneself in order to get a better paying job and thus, escape the hardship that is poverty. Thus, the importance of Skills Development can never be overemphasised. It is unfortunate that some view the Skills Development element of the B-BBEE scorecard, and perhaps the sco...
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Simulated Learnerships - True Transformation or Pure Compliance?
by Beth Cook

In recent years, hosted and simulated learnerships, in which learners are hosted at premises other than the lead employer or in a simulated work environment, have become prevalent and in some instances, even preferred among corporates. This is especially true with regards to learners with disabilities. There are some instances in which an “offsite” learnership is a more viable option for corporates. Head count freeze, lack of space in the work environment and/or limited accessibility are often factors that force corporates to opt for a hosted learnership. In these situations the employer looks for alternative solutions that meet their immediate needs. While a hosted learnership option is a solution that benefits all three parties ie the learner, the lead employer and the host employer and is still a solution that provides integration and real life working experience for the candidate, th...
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The Importance of Considering People with Disabilities in your Health and Safety Procedures
by Tarryn Mason

As human beings, we are all entitled to a safe and healthy working environment. Legislation in the form of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) was written and passed by Parliament to address this matter. This Act aims to ensure the provision and maintenance of a safe and healthy work environment for all, including people with disabilities. It is important to note that injuries at work can lead to permanent disability. The workplace is a more common source of disability for men than it is for women. Among Disability Insurance recipients, 45% of men and 26% of women acquire a disability through workplace accidents, injuries, or illnesses. In the USA, the annual cost of workplace injuries to Medicare and Social Security Disability Insurance is roughly $33 billion. In addition, it is important to make special considerations when accommodating a person that may be a higher r...
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Stephen Hawking- Disability Need Not be an Obstacle to Success
by Justene Smith

When Stephen Hawking passed away recently, the world lost an incredible human being, someone who was able to look past his physical limitations and become one of the great thinkers of our time. Hawking was diagnosed with a terminal illness at the tender age of 21. Doctors gave him a mere two to three years to live, yet he went on to live for 76 years while positioning himself as one of the most influential men in the worlds of science, mathematics and cosmology. Progression Disability Expert Justene Smith says Stephen Hawking has shown the world that living with a disability does not take away a person’s ability to have a successful and impactful life. “He certainty challenged the stereotype that people with disabilities are less “able” than their able-bodied counter parts.” Unfortunately, not enough people share the same view as Hawking. “People with disabilitie...
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Intellectual Disability Awareness Month
by Justene Smith

Of every one thousand people living in South Africa (and our population is over 55.91 million), 25 have an IQ between 50 and 80. Yet, we know very little about Intellectual Disability. The month of March is dedicated to bringing awareness to Intellectual Disability, a subject often plagued by stereotypes, misconception and misunderstanding. Justene Smith, Disability expert at Progression, unpacks Intellectual Disability, common stereotypes surrounding this topic and the important role of Early Childhood Development. What is Intellectual Disability? Intellectual Disability is characterised by a low IQ level, significant limitations in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) as well as the ability to adapt or relate to the surrounding world to the same extent as others. It is usually diagnosed before the age of 18 and is lifelong. There are various causes of Intelle...
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Matric Requirement Limits Both People with Disabilities as well as Organisations' Ability to Maximise their B-BBEE Score
by Beth Cook

Across the country a number of young adults waited eagerly for their matric final results, which were released on the 4th of January for the IEB schools and the 6th of January for the Government-regulated curriculum system. Many young people are now considering their next steps, their work and study options. Sadly, only a handful of youth with disabilities will be doing the same thing, according to Progression’s CEO, Beth Cook.  This is because only an estimated 5% of youth with disabilities matriculate every year, according to research conducted by Progression.  “It is important to understand that the employable number within the particular target group of persons with disabilities in general constitutes only 10% of the population of South Africa and that the large majority of this very small pool of people have no work experience, limited education, no matric qualification an...
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Managing Disability During the Festive Season
by Justene Smith

While the festive season is meant to be a period of relaxation, when enjoying time with family and friends and celebrating the end of another year are high on the agenda, many people find it particularly stressful.  Justene Smith, disability expert at Progression, says while dealing with the festive season can be stressful for the man-on-the-street, it can be life-threatening for persons with mental health disabilities.  “The festivities and the pressure and expectations that accompany Christmas and the holiday season can result in relapses and lead to elevated levels of stress, which can have serious repercussions,” says Smith. Smith provides a few tips to help persons with mental disabilities cope better in December and January. Planning is key Smith says planning for the holidays is the first and most important step to ensure mental health during the festive season. Smith ...
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Disability Rights Awareness Month - Overcoming the 1%
by Beth Cook

Theme for Disability Rights Awareness Month 2017: Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all. Disability Rights Awareness Month (DRAM) takes place annually from the 3rd of November to the 3rd of December. The 3rd of December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, also celebrated as National Disability Rights Awareness Day. This month is an important and exciting one for Progression as it allows us to spread awareness and educate society around disability. In addition, it provides us with the opportunity to drive the inclusion and advancement of persons with disabilities, both in the corporate world and society. DRAM aims to promote an understanding of disability, the rights of persons with disabilities as well as the gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of ...
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