(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Lack of accurate data and cultural issues continue to be the main challenges in carrying out research and development for people of determination (PoD), a top Dubai government official has said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the first Conference for Inclusive Employment and Occupational Learning (ICIEOL 2017), Ahmed Abdul Karim Julfar, director general of the Community Development Authority (CDA), said that obtaining accurate data on the number of PoD in Dubai is "very important".
The first day of ICIEOL had experts from Dubai and the UK discussing how workplaces can be inclusive for PoD, as well as some challenges that are getting in the way of making them so.
"It's more of the cultural issues. People here are used to getting ready results and implementing them very fast. In the social sector, you cannot do it. it has to be very applicable to the people here and is a very lengthy process. You have to engage with people one on one and that is one of the challenges," he said.
"The other challenge is the lack of accurate data. Today, we at CDA are trying to have accurate data of all segments of society - for example, how many people have autism, in what age categories and in which areas. This is very important to us but it is not available. It requires a lot of effort to acquire all of this data. We're engaging with different sectors to get the data - National ID, Dubai statistics Center, DHA and many others."
Julfar believes that the current research and development in all sectors related to PoD is "very little" compared to the country's general progress. There is a need for greater focus in carrying out research and development locally, in order for the results to be more effective, he added.
"This would give us the right results, specific for the people that live here. We may learn from R & D done outside the UAE, but it may not be applicable because we have a very unique population here," he said. "This is one of the outcomes of the conference here today: to see the recommendations of the experts on how to expedite and increase research and development in the social sector in Dubai."
Panel discussions at the conference also covered other topics, such as how PoD and their inclusion in the workplace are no longer absent from the business agenda in the UAE. Accommodating PoD and their disability-related needs are important steps for companies, in terms of talent resourcing and social responsibility, as well as compliance with the UAE national legislation, the discussions noted.
However, some of the challenges that are still faced by PoD in terms of inclusive employment in a social context, were also highlighted. Experts said that a lack of social acceptance by non-disabled co-workers is often the reason why PoD employees "fail to stay" in organisations for sustained periods.
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