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This MEA’s pro-inclusion initiative is a branded networking project, which so far already included a number of specified and targeted tasks fulfilled with a number of activities all aimed to assist and offer a wide range of services to SMEs in general, whereby, with a pro-active approach, education, training and social awareness for more inclusivity at the place of work, are being given top priority.
This project commenced in 2016 and till today, it is still recognized as an ongoing project which is being managed by the SME Helpdesk within the Malta Employers’ Association.
Pro-inklude actively embraces the concept of inclusion at the workplace, especially where it comes to integration of persons with disability at the place of work, accepting the philosophy of strength through diversity, applying the right attitude towards workers with different cultures, avoiding gender discrimination, while safeguarding equality rights amongst all employees.
Managed by an Employers’ Association and not by an NGO, gives it more weight and makes it a more interesting initiative, whilst bringing together the public and private sector within our business ecosystem to be able to create the right environment for networking opportunities in favor to SMEs in general, with the comfort of being updated, trained and guided accordingly, in this particular sector.
Through the continuous cooperation with various Government organizations, MEA’s SME Helpdesk is successfully managing to synergize all local resources, whilst offering a professional service to SMEs in general. A case in point, is that what is the being pro-actively offered with reference to COVID-19, whereby MEA is continuously alerting their members and SMEs in general.
Pro-inklude is the entrepreneurial vehicle through which SMEs are being guided how to act responsibly on multiculturalism, gender equality, active aging, employment of x-convicts, alcoholism, employees with mental health conditions, the concept of equal pay for equal work, and other sensitive and important circumstances related to some sort of vulnerability condition, whilst ensuring the employees’ right of a healthy wellbeing at the place of work.
Through this initiative, by utilizing the meaindex online platform, MEA is also giving the opportunity to Government entities, service providers within the private sector, NGOs and other local organizations to be able to promote and reach-out SMEs with their particular services related to inclusive entrepreneurship.
The Pro-inklude initiative, through various actions and activities, is not only guiding SMEs how to comply with local and International legislations, but also helping them pro-actively how to prevent and to avoid uncomfortable circumstances which creates unnecessary social disturbance amongst their employees at the place of work.
This project, which so far embraced more than 98 actions, is well recognized amongst our local SMEs community, and its estimated that thousands already heard about it, others had already actively participated and benefitted from actions already taken so far.
Through the pro-inklude initiative a number of electronic specific updates reached hundreds of business entrepreneurs employing over 60% of the Maltese workforce, disseminating important knowledge and guidance on inclusivity through diversity especially when employing third country nationals, persons with disability and vulnerable employees.
Pro-inklude in collaboration with FSWS, and Agenzija Sapport already embarked on a number of training programmes which are being offered to SMEs. This collaboration mainly followed the guidelines established within the S.A.F.E. and INK programmes whereby so far hundreds of employees already participated and benefitted accordingly.
Pro-inklude is also utilizing MEAs other electronic tool – “Meaindex”, to be able to promote other initiatives taken by various other organisations in favor of entrepreneurship among disadvantaged groups such as legal migrants, disabled persons or people from ethnic minorities.
Pro-inklude’s collaboration and partnership with entities such, MCAST, FSWS, NCPE, SOS Malta, CORE, CRPD, Agenzija Sapport, Richmond Foundation and others, encouraged hundreds of SMEs to participate and benefit from various initiatives.
While being chosen by CRPD, as one of the founder members of the newly established, Malta Business Disability Forum, MEA kicked off discussions with FITA, to facilitate more SMEs to transform their respective websites to a fully-accessible electronic tool with the less expenses possible.
In collaboration with CRPD, MEA also conducted two workshops “Practicality, reasonability and Accessibility” and “Lack of employees viza-vi disability”, which workshops were organized as part of the YES campaign.
325 minutes of entrepreneurial tv material was produced with the assistance of a number of sociologists and other experts, as part of this pro-inklude initiative. 14 tv programmes based mainly on supportive employment, mental health at the place of work, knowledge and opinions on the proposed Equality Act Bills and prevention at the workplace.
MEA-EQUIP, the EU co-financed project "Equipping Employers for more Equal and Inclusive Labour Market" was the first and solid foundation for the pro-inklude initiative, carried out in 2016. Over than a 1000 SMEs participated and successfully benefitted from activities such as the partnership with Richmond Foundation in the Healthy mind for healthy business ESF project, a number of info-sessions, reach-out one-to-one meetings, the printing and distributing of an HR Handbook, the publication of MEAs position papers on subjects like Equality and Diversity at the workplace, and the outcome of a research study survey.
Through the pro-inklude branded initiative we believe that we are bridging the gap, between stakeholders and commuters, while establishing best-practices of how inclusive mentality can give positive results.
In the near future, we intend to strengthen and enhance this initiative by adding more virtual electronic connectivity which facilitates the possibility of more networking especially with those who might have mobility problems, or lack of physical access to services which are being offered at the moment through this initiative.