An understanding of the collective experiences of unemployed people with disabilities engaged in an employment assisted programme in the Eastern Cape

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Disability impacts one’s life and many South African people with disabilities remain socially excluded as they are denied access to employment. This research study was conducted to understand the experiences of a group of people with disabilities who were engaged in an employment assisted programme (EAP) as a means of accessing the open labour market. The Literature Review provided a rich theoretical base by giving an overview of the concepts underpinning disability related issues within the social context of employment in the open labour market. A qualitative research approach was followed using individual descriptive case studies as the research design. Five unemployed young people with disabilities, who engaged an EAP, participated in the research study. Semi-structured interviews contributed to the rich information regarding their experiences relating to engaging in the EAP. Informed consent was obtained to ensure voluntary participation by the participants. Data was analysed using thematic content analysis. Four themes relating to each of the corresponding objectives emerged from the findings. The themes were: Theme One: Vehicle of progression This theme highlights the expectations held by the participants as they entered and engaged the EAP. Theme Two: Belonging in the world of work This theme captures the process of engagement in the EAP. It encapsulates the collective experiences which reflect coping factors, benefits and challenges encountered in the EAP. Theme Three: Active participation begins with me This theme reveals action taken by participants’ to promote personal progress relating to expectations and challenges presented in the EAP. Theme Four: Advancing Quality of life The final theme provides an awareness of personal change within participants as a result of their journey through the EAP.

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