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4th edition of the SPIE Disability Awareness Month: innovation in the front line

Cergy, 16 March 2016 Throughout April, the SPIE group is holding its fourth edition of the Disability Awareness Month. The common theme for this year is: “disability & innovation”.

Committed to an ambitious programme in favour of people with disabilities, SPIE has now been holding Disability Awareness Month for 4 years with the aim of raising awareness amongst all staff in relation to this major challenge. Following the third event devoted to sensory disability, this year SPIE is focusing on innovation. A number of innovations and innovative practices have been put in place with a view to furthering the employment and retention of workers with disabilities, including workstation adaptation, compensation schemes and specific retraining initiatives.  “Whilst the theme of ‘disability and innovation’ certainly encompasses technical and technological innovations, it goes a step further. We also wish to share examples of good innovative practice which we have implemented”, says Alexandra Raimbault, HR Development Manager at SPIE. “What is the common factor? Creativity, inventiveness and an ability to think outside the box. ” 

Disability-specific accomodations

In order to offer assistance and support to people with disabilities, SPIE is continuously developing a broad range of workstation adaptation solutions. These solutions, innovative as well as simple and ingenious, are tailored and customised to compensate for the disability of each employee concerned. For example, one of its multi-technical regional subsidiaries instructed a specialised consultancy to devise a solution combining an amplified telephone and a special partition wall with a sound absorbing screen for an employee suffering from hearing difficulties. In the north of France, a tailored solution was put in place for a partially-sighted member of staff in the mail department: furniture with a lighting strip and integrated sliding trays, an individually-designed mail distribution trolley and the use of ZoomText software with an electronic magnifier; installation of the overall arrangement required a unique collaboration between an ergonomist, the subsidiary's development department and La Poste.

In another innovative initiative, approaches have been made to the protected and adapted purchasing sector. Within the framework of an industrial maintenance contract in the aeronautical sector, 16 individuals from an ESAT* suffering from mental disabilities, trained by two supervisors, were asked to carry out preventive maintenance services on equipment.

"Disability Month”: awareness-raising initiatives on 60 SPIE sites

On over 60 sites, the disability representatives from each subsidiary will be available to lead discussions, quizzes and workshops. The aim: to provide each staff member with a clear vision of “the disability policy of SPIE” and the resources deployed to retain in employment those individuals suffering from a disability now or in the future. An entire series of events will take place: photo competitions to enable staff members to express their views on disability in the workplace, disabled sports events, sensory awareness-raising workshops, collective fresco painting, comic strip shows, newsletters and videos, talks on good practice, etc.

This event on an unprecedented scale plays a key role in the disability policy of SPIE, which is centred around initiatives on 4 levels: employment retention, recruitment and integration, development of purchasing in the protected sector, awareness-raising and training. “Disability Awareness Month” is the culmination of the initiatives pursued throughout the year.


* Etablissement de services d'aide par le travail [Vocational rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities]



Pascal Omnès
Communications Director
Tel.: +33 (0)1 34 41 81 11

Alexandra Raimbault
HR Development Manager
Tel.: +33 (0)1 34 41 81 21

Agence Droit Devant

Philippe Hériard
Tel.: +33 (0)1 39 53 53 33