Wheels@Work are endorsed by the QuadPara Association of South Africa (QASA), and were established in December 2008 in order to provide call centre work for workers with disabilities as figures show that only 1% of PWDs are employed.
Wheels at Work are led by experienced people who have been involved in the call centre industry for 16 years. Karen Venter-Gillmer has Spinal Muscular Atrophy so she understands the challenges that PWDs experience in the workplace.
Wheels@Work provide all of the necessary equipment and skills for a person to set up office at home thereby taking care of transport, accessibility and personal needs and eliminating barriers to entering the job market.
They provide the tools: PCs, Soft Phones, E-Mail and Internet Access, and all of the neccessary software.
Group training of the appointed call centre agents currently takes place at the QASA training centre in Pretoria.
They provide potential employers access to their database of skilled workers with disabilities and reduce employers’ expenses of tailoring office space for the needs of workers with disabilities by having the agents work from home.
Advancements in technology now allow employers to maintain contact with their “remote” employees via webcams, teleconferencing, sms and email ensuring that “out of sight” does not have to mean “out of mind”. And the employer’s relationship is with Wheels@Work and not the agent.
Because the call centre agent does not have the stress of an environment that does not cater for their needs they can focus on the job at hand.
The initial project is rolling out in Gauteng but they do intend extending it to other regions, as and when possible.