Opinion Paper - Special Collection: Disability Unplugged

Transport experiences of people with disabilities during learnerships

Amanda E. Gibberd, Ntombizivumile Hankwebe
African Journal of Disability | Vol 11 | a936 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v11i0.936 | © 2022 Amanda E. Gibberd, Ntombizivumile Hankwebe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 September 2021 | Published: 18 October 2022

About the author(s)

Amanda E. Gibberd, Department of Transport, Pretoria, South Africa
Ntombizivumile Hankwebe, Avivah Occupations Therapists, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Transport is a known national barrier for people with disabilities in South Africa. It is similarly identified as a barrier in learnerships and economic opportunity programmes. This article discusses the extent to which transport is a barrier during learnerships for students with disabilities. The Department of Transport administered an online evaluation questionnaire to a random sample of students with disabilities. Results were coded in terms of ‘barriers to access’ and ‘barriers to participation’. The data were organised into themes. The collated evidence is discussed in this article. The findings demonstrated that transport barriers were present in different modes of transport and different parts of the travel chain. However, the findings also demonstrated the negative impact of transport on the learnership experience and economic opportunities. The findings indicated that inaccessible transport is an integral cause of learnership incompletion for students with disabilities, where the universal accessibility of both transport and the built environment are a prerequisite need. Most students with disabilities reported that transport was not a barrier to learnership participation or that problems with transport could be resolved. Nevertheless, it was one of the identified barriers that negatively affected learnership participation experiences. It was a significant barrier to learnership completion for students with the most severe experience of disability. The sample consisted of only 32 students and a high number of unspecified responses. Evidence from other studies indicates that transport for all persons with disabilities remains a barrier warranting further examination, because public transport has remained inaccessible for over 23 years. Further research is required to verify this study and to investigate learnership cost–benefit for all students.

Keywords

universally accessible transport; students with disabilities; learnerships; SETAS; economic opportunity.

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