Successful Job Applications for Students with a Disability
How can a young person with a disability optimally prepare for the application process? This question was at the centre of the third workshop that Dow Europe recently organised together with the MyHandicap Foundation in Horgen.
HORGEN, Switzerland — April 2012 — "Not the disability but the abilities of an applicant should be at the centre of an employment decision”. This statement marked the conclusion of the third application workshop organised by Dow Europe and the MyHandicap Foundation. This informal event aimed at preparing students for the application process while taking into account their disability.
About twenty participants and one guide dog took part in the March workshop in Horgen, supported by Dow Olympic Operations. This business unit is concerned with Dow’s engagement as a worldwide Olympic partner and the official "Chemistry Company” of the Olympic movement. The Olympic spirit and values therefore served as inspiration for the application workshop; i.e. demonstrating respect, celebrating friendship and striving for excellence.
Diversity as strength
Welcoming the assembled group, Ad Tolboom, HR Director for Dow in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, pointed out that diversity in particular is what makes a company strong. And diversity is all the more important for a company like Dow as it has to stay competitive within a global market environment. Over the last three years, Dow in Europe has welcomed 16 new employees and students with a disability.
A cycle benefiting everyone
In his presentation, Robert Freumuth, CEO of MyHandicap Deutschland, emphasised the importance of reintegrating people with a disability into professional life. The objective is a cycle from which everyone benefits: companies, people with disabilities and society at large. "Focus on individual talents and abilities”, was the motto expressed by MyHandicap founder Joachim Schoss. In his presentation, he spoke about his own experiences of living with a disability. During the workshop, the participants learned that a good, intriguing application folder constitutes a promising "foot in the door” as it must highlight one’s strengths and abilities. The participants were then able to practice what they had learned in mock application interviews with Dow managers, which were analysed thereafter.
Impressive and impressed participants
Once again, it became crystal clear that all sides – companies, people
with and without disabilities – benefit from integration efforts. The workshop
constituted a clear win-win situation for both the participants and for Dow.