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Press Release: 2017 Hong Kong Conference of Workability International and Workability Asia

Rehabilitation Service – News      2017/06/12

Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem for Employment of Persons with Disabilities at Work

Through International Exchange


【Press release on 12 June 2017】The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has come into effect for almost a decade in China including Hong Kong since 2008.  The Convention ensures the full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities and requires the state parties to take up effective and appropriate measures to promote the skills, talents and abilities of persons with disabilities as well as their contributions to the workplace and the labour market.  Through various policies and services, the governments and organizations in the globe aim at promoting the employment of persons with disabilities.  In order to foster the exchange of experiences of different countries, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) and the Hong Kong Joint Council for People with Disabilities has formed the Organizing Committee jointly with local non-governmental organizations, Social Welfare Department and Labour Department to organize the three-day “2017 Hong Kong Conference of Workability International and Workability Asia” (the Conference) from 12 to 14 June. 

The theme of the Conference is “Creating a Sustainable Ecosystem for Persons with Disabilities at Work” with the objectives of providing a platform for exchanging international experiences and good practices.  The subthemes include “Enabling Ecosystem to Facilitate Work Potential and Employment Opportunities”; “Social Innovation in Enhancing the Employability” and “Social Impact of Social Enterprises”.  The participants of the Conference include various stakeholders of different countries including government representatives, practitioners of non-government organizations and business partners. 

Ms. Deborah Wan, the Chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the Conference pointed out that there were a number of good practices in different countries and regions that Hong Kong could learn from, such as the SWAN Bakery in Japan. “SWAN Bakery was established in 1998, aiming at relieving the persons with disabilities from low-income condition and enabling them to enjoy the pleasure of working.  At present, The SWAN Bakery has established nearly 30 branches with over 350 disabled employees.  With the support from business sector, the Bakery is also allowed to run the shops at busy locations.”  Offering suitable locations for shops is also a way to support the employment of persons with disabilities.  “There are still rooms for Hong Kong to further promote the full play of skills, talents and abilities of persons with disabilities as well as to recognize their contributions to the workplace and the labour market. For instance, the employers could make good use of innovative technology and develop new support model to facilitate the employees with disabilities to work.” said Ms. Wan. 

Mr. Jerry Davis, the President of Workability International (WI), said that WI is committed to promote the employment of persons with disabilities in countries and regions around the world. “We will build relationship with sister organizations to multiply our efforts and learn from one another; we will also use a robust social media strategy that connects us with each other and celebrates our success stories.” said Mr. Davis. In the coming future, WI will pay effort especially on increasing their connection to the business community so as to meet people’s needs with aligned training and placement strategies. 

The Conference was generously sponsored by S. K. Yee Medical Foundation, Kerry Hotel Hong Kong and the 3rd International Abilympics Foundation.  With the sponsorship from Towngas, Workability International Japan, Meiriki JP and Mr. Li Fung Lok, 12 participants from developing countries also took part in the Conference.  They can contribute to the employment of persons with disabilities in their countries through learning the international best practice experience from the conference.  More than 400 people participated in the Conference including over 200 people from overseas.  Representatives from local and overseas organizations promoting the work and employment of persons with disabilities engaged in fruitful discussions and exchange through various plenary and parallel sessions of the Conference.




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Introduction of Workability International

Workability International is the largest body representing providers of work and employment services to persons with disabilities.  Its objectives are to champion the right to work of persons with disabilities and to serve as a cross-regional platform for professional exchange in relation to employment issues of persons with disabilities.  More than three million persons with disabilities are engaged in work programmes, accessing employment and work, delivered through more than 130 member organizations in more than 40 countries.


Introduction of Workability Asia

Workability Asia, as one of the regional organizations of WI, was established in April 2004. It is comprised with 41 service organizations from 13 Asian countries and regions.




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Mr. Ray Yeung, Officer (Corporate Communication), HKCSS

Tel.: 2876 2474  Email: