Very few of us probably realise how blessed we are to just get up and get to work everyday .  Iemas, a financial and insurance services provider, currently employs 10 persons with disabilities. A survey in 2009 highlighted changes and upgrades required to facilities at their Head Office and Contact Centre in Centurion to better accommodate employees, customers and visitors with different abilities and R250,000 was budgeted for the upgrades.

The project commenced in May 2010 and was finalised by December. Dedicated parking areas and ramps now lead to two HO buildings. Building access has been improved; in one building automatic doors now provide easy access to the garden area. Bathroom facilities were also improved.

An employee writes: "One of the greatest gifts that you can give a person living with a disability is independence. The new improvements that Iemas is implementing to make the buildings more accessible are fulfilling this important need. Apart from removing the physical barriers of accessibility, it removes emotional barriers.

Being in a wheelchair myself, independence has been, apart from spiritual conviction, my biggest source of hope. The accessibility improvements at Iemas allow me to get in and out of the car and Iemas buildings with very little assistance, thus improving my independence tremendously. I think the accessibility improvements show Iemas' commitment not only to employ people with disabilities but to cater for their physical needs, which has a tremendously positive emotional effect." Ryan Dekker - Senior Software Developer

Iemas anticipate that the project will sensitise employees to the needs of people with different abilities. Three interns with various physical abilities complete their internships in June 2011 at the Contact Centre. Learnerships offers employees and unemployed people the opportunity to obtain a formal national qualification whilst also gaining work experience. Learnerships include: Credit, Short-term Insurance, Asset Based Finance, Payroll Admin, Contact Centre Support / Supervising, Project Management, General Management, InternalAuditing, IT: Systems Development and Systems Support. 82% of the graduates secured employment at Iemas and three are now in management positions.

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