Ramadan's Empowering Shift in Vocational Training
Ramadan, a resilient 49-year-old, wears the hats of a devoted husband and a father of three. His professional journey has been marked by challenges, navigating through intermittent employment for 30 years with no stable job or consistent income. A month ago, Ramadan embarked on a transformative chapter by enrolling as a full-time trainee in the Carpentry Training Programme at the Vocational Training Centre in Mitrovica. His journey began with the completion of the three-month Blacksmith Training Programme at the same Vocational Training Centre. Guided by the recommendations of his mentor, Ferki, Ramadan decided to continue his pursuit in Carpentry, recognizing its potential to enhance his job prospects.
Thirty years ago, Ramadan graduated from the "Mother Theresa" Resource Centre in Prizren, specializing in Blacksmithing. Despite his skills, securing regular employment in this field proved challenging due to intense competition and the necessity for advanced training requiring a sign interpreter. Instead, he was provided an allowance of 100 euros per month by the government, making it a struggle for him and his family to make ends meet. Ramadan reflects on a flawed system that seems to overlook the equal educational and employment rights of deaf-mute individuals, leaving them on the margins of society.
Employers and people have shut doors on me or have told me to pay certain people to help me find a job.
Facing these obstacles, Ramadan, alongside colleagues sharing similar struggles, shifted their professional focus to Carpentry. The three-month Carpentry Training Programme has become a beacon of hope for Ramadan. His background in Blacksmithing has facilitated his understanding of various processes, especially in precision tasks like measuring and cutting wood. Grateful for an empathetic trainer who tailors teaching methods to accommodate diverse experiences and disabilities, Ramadan commends the practical approach where they observe, learn, and then execute tasks under the trainer's supervision.
There are six of us following this training programme, and we don't all learn the same way. Some pick things up easily, but for others, it is harder. Our trainer shows us the work first, we watch, and then we do it ourselves with his help and his full supervision.
Ferki, the Carpentry Trainer at the VCT in Mitrovica, notes the enthusiasm of the trainees to enhance their skills for the labour market. Considering the absence of sign interpreters in workplaces, Carpentry, with its less hazardous environment and tools, emerges as a friendlier work environment for deaf-mute individuals. Ferki actively connects trainees with potential employers, emphasizing the applicability of their skills.
I told my fellow trainees where to apply after the completion of the training programme. I am also talking to the same companies and showing them what skills, my trainees have.
Despite the hurdles, Ramadan remains optimistic. As he nears the completion of the Training Programme, he envisions a rewarding future. Identifying two potential employers in the Carpentry sector in Vushtrri, he advocates for broader societal change. Ramadan calls for increased government efforts to ensure equal opportunities and inclusion of younger generations with disabilities in Kosovo.
Apart from the allowance of 100 euros that we are given, the government should make more efforts in implementing the legal quota of employing one person with disabilities for every 50 employees.