Driving inclusion with passion and dedication
Apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp | Career at thyssenkrupp | Engagement | People at thyssenkrupp | Even today, many people with disabilities find that they meet with a certain skepticism from employers when applying for jobs. Our experience is that with their individual skills and often exceptional motivation, people with disabilities are an asset to our sites.
As a responsible corporate citizen, thyssenkrupp has a decades-long commitment to inclusion, with people like Rita Albert working with dedication every day to help those with disabilities find employment at thyssenkrupp and give them support.
At thyssenkrupp in Germany, around 6.7 percent of employees have severe disability in 2019 – all those at thyssenkrupp Materials Services and thyssenkrupp Schulte in Germany will sooner or later have had dealings with Rita Albert. Because Rita is responsible for the disabled employees’ representative body at thyssenkrupp Materials Services. And she performs this role on a voluntary basis alongside her “normal” job in accounts.
“I just love doing this job”.
There could hardly be anyone better to fill this responsible position. “I love being able to help people. It’s in my nature to help others,” says Rita. “When a colleague gets in touch, I always try to find a solution. I just love doing this job. Helping isn’t selfless, it’s a recipe for health and happiness. Especially when you think you haven’t got time for things like that.”
Her motivation has a lot to do with her own story. “I’ve been disabled myself since 1977 and I know what it’s like when you have problems and how important it is to get support,” says Rita.
Rita has been in charge of the disabled employees’ representative body since 2008
After standing for election as disabled employees’ representative at thyssenkrupp Materials Services in 2008, Rita was elected chairwoman of the general disabled employees’ representative body (thyssenkrupp Materials Services and thyssenkrupp Schulte) in 2012. Since then she has been the first point of contact for all employees with disabilities. She works particularly closely with the HR department. “The work we do together is very good and very important,” she stresses. “For example, my colleagues at HR inform me as soon as someone with a disability applies for work with us. I also attend all job interviews.”
In the application process, the degree of disability is not the primary concern. “We look first at an applicant’s skills and suitability,” says Rita. “Only then do we consider whether their disability could be a problem.”
If that is the case, Rita works with the inclusion office and the department concerned to check which work aids might be needed. “We have two totally different areas that require different approaches and equipment. In the office area at Materials Services, it’s mainly about providing height-adjustable desks, bigger screens, or additional aids such as screen magnifiers. So that’s not too much trouble.”
In the warehouse areas of thyssenkrupp Schulte it’s a different picture. “That’s physical work, after all,” says Rita. “So here I often consult the inclusion office for advice on what measures are needed.” In many cases, work procedures are also optimized in collaboration with the department concerned to make the best possible use of an employee’s individual skills.
Facilitating vocational training for young people with disabilities
“thyssenkrupp is diverse and colorful. Everyone is welcome here!” And that’s not all: “A project has been set up specifically to address young people with disabilities and enable them to pursue vocational training. With a special program for young apprentices, we want to reach out to young people to make them aware of us. For this we’ve created a flyer and among other things we’re working together with the Federal Employment Agency and taking part in apprentice speed dating events.”
Even if the work can often be very challenging, Rita is extremely dedicated to her job. It’s easy for her to say why: “I want people with disabilities to be given the chance to get a job or an apprenticeship. And for me part of that is having colleagues who are understanding and helpful towards them.”