Montpellier Business School looks back at 10 years of practical actions on disability taken since the law of 11 February, 2005 was passed

As part of its policy of diversity and equal opportunity, and beyond accessibility work carried out in 2013, Montpellier Business School has established a comprehensive system for the integration of students with disabilities in its programmes and even making its students aware of other people's problems. Today, there are fifteen or so disabled students at Montpellier Business School. This gives us the opportunity, 10 years after the law was passed, to observe that although there is still much to do, big names in higher education are investing in and are committed to greater openness towards diversity.

“We are committed at all levels, whether this be “before” to provide access to all these young people in secondary and high schools through tutoring or opening special competitive examinations, “during” through awareness of our staff and our own students, and without forgetting “after” to facilitate the inclusion of all young people with disabilities”, says Caroline Cazi, HR and CSR Director for Montpellier Business School.

“I will mention, amongst other things: organisation of the annual “journées Handivalides” event in partnership with the Starting Block association which consists of educating our students about various disability situations, of deconstructing stereotypes about disability and of engaging them in the debate around this topic. In response to the call made by the Prefect, Jean-Christophe Parisot, we participate in the annual “different like everyone” project. Its goal: to change how college students look at disability and to educate the business world to promote the employment of people with disabilities. Since 2012, we have implemented the PHARES programme which promotes access to higher education for young people with disabilities (for secondary and high schools). Through weekly tutoring performed by student volunteers from the school, it affects more than a hundred or so students and around fifteen further education establishments throughout our region. Of course, in terms of accessibility, we have integrated the ‘Passerelle Handicap’ competitive examination for further education students from the Montpellier local education authority. Seven disability advisors, who are Montpellier Business School employees, have also been trained to monitor and answer any questions related to the specific layout of the timetable or the organisation of examinations for our students with disabilities. In terms of integration, in conjunction with our partner companies and the FEDEEH, we hold ‘Handicafés’ in our offices. They are recruitment forums bringing together recruiters and job seekers with disabilities in a friendly atmosphere. Two days are organised every year.”

For Montpellier Business School, there still remains a lot to be done. However, the most difficult thing seems to be having access to students and to help them sometimes identify themselves and to remind them that they may be “different … but like everyone else”.