SPIE France launches the seventh edition of Disability Awareness Month to raise awareness of disabling conditions

Published on 01 June 2021

Cergy, Tuesday, 1 June 2021 – Disability in the workplace can be visible or invisible and may involve mental, physical, or psychological implications, with others often completely unaware of what people have to contend with. To help inform and raise awareness among its staff members, SPIE France, a subsidiary of the SPIE group, the European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, is organising the seventh edition of Disability Awareness Month from 1 to 30 June 2021.

The 2021 edition is dedicated to disabling conditions. This is a complex subject, with people sometimes failing to make a connection between these conditions and the concept of disability. These respiratory, cardiovascular, or endocrine conditions involve impairments or limitations of varying significance, which may be short-lived, permanent, or progressive. They account for 48% of disabilities.

15 million French people are affected to varying degrees of severity. They require medical care over several years and sometimes lead to a state of dependence that has an impact on people's work. But having said this, it is vital that those affected do not face exclusion in the workplace as a result. Their working conditions can and must be managed accordingly. ‘We need to make our differences a source of unity – so we can accommodate the talents of every single person,’ points out Olga Martin-Jarousse, Head of Human Resources at SPIE France.

Speaking openly about disability

Disability Awareness Month is an important event in the calendar at SPIE France subsidiaries. It provides an opportunity for discussion and for people to learn to understand disability better and work side by side with all staff members. HR teams also have the opportunity to explain the administrative procedures for employees to be recognised as having a disability, as well as the associated support measures.

Disability Awareness Month at SPIE France subsidiaries

Throughout the month of June, numerous initiatives will be organised at each subsidiary, including quizzes and virtual chats. A new feature for 2021 is a touring exhibition, which will take in around 30 sites. Dubbed the ‘the invisible exhibition’, the installation will tell the story of nine people affected by a disabling condition. A moment of truth to raise awareness and facilitate spontaneous and honest conversations between staff members. In order to make progress, it is essential to encourage people to speak freely on subjects that are sometimes seen as taboo and thereby facilitate constructive dialogue with all staff members.

It is a case of focusing attention on the realities of disability in the workplace and on our collective duty to create a welcoming environment where everyone can thrive,’ says Olga Martin-Jarousse, Head of Human Resources at SPIE France. ‘By “telling it like it is”, we are facilitating dialogue and promoting the integration of people with a disability.’

Support: a major strand of the Disability Policy at SPIE

Disability Awareness Month is an important event for Disability representatives, with every SPIE France subsidiary having their own. Their role consists of supporting staff members with a disability in the things they need to do and promoting the conditions they need to thrive and stay healthy.

In 2020, the overall rate of people with a disability at SPIE France subsidiaries was 5.2%, a figure which still does not satisfy the teams – but which is constantly improving. SPIE recruits people with a disability, across all career paths, via target schools, the intérim and Cap Emploi agencies, and other bodies that promote integration. All SPIE France subsidiaries also support the sheltered and supported employment sector at ESAT (Etablissements et Services d’Aide par le Travail – establishments and services providing support through employment) and EA (Entreprises Adaptées – adapted enterprises). It uses several contractors, including Bretagne Ateliers, DSI (Distribution Services Industriels), APF (Association des Paralysés de France), Elise, Handiprint, and many others.

Diversity is part and parcel of the culture at SPIE. We live it out every day, and our organisation is stronger for it,’ concludes Christophe Santiago-Perez, who heads the Disability Committee at SPIE France.