Academic achievement aids push for inclusivity

Warren Charles has a special interest in addressing challenges faced by people with disabilities in mainstream employment.

A Vanguard Estate man is on a mission to integrate people with disabilities into mainstream employment to create a more inclusive and diverse work environment.

Warren Charles now has a new academic achievement to aid him in this goal after he graduated, at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, on Tuesday December 12, with a doctorate in human-resource management, focusing on disability integration.

Dr Charles grew up in Heideveld and matriculated from Cathkin High School. He said he had faced formidable challenges during his schooling years – particularly amid the defiance campaign and prevalent gangsterism in the area – but had still managed to excel academically through sheer hard work.

In 2007, Dr Charles and his wife, Chantal, welcomed now 16-year-old twins, Hannah and Joel. Joel was born with spina bifida, resulting in a lifelong disability. The couple are also the parents of Sarah-Lee,11, and Levi-Matityahu, 9.

Dr Charles said it was his family’s experience with Joel that drove him to push for people with disabilities to be included in the workforce.

“As a lecturer and industrial psychologist at Cape Peninsula University of Technology, I strive to contribute to meaningful engagement for people with disabilities in mainstream employment. I have been fortunate that since my first degree, I have had bursaries. I believe in hard work. When I was at school, I might not have been the brightest learner in class, but I am a hard worker, and that’s all university requires from us. My success is not solely attributed to being a top student but rather to my dedicated and hard-working approach towards personal development,” he said.

For his doctoral study, Dr Charles investigated the challenges associated with integrating people with disabilities into mainstream employment. His research has culminated in the development of a model specifically tailored for the employment of people with disabilities within a provincial government department.