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“One of the programmes in Telenor that I am most proud of is Open Mind. It serves as an on-the-job training programme that aims to include and enable people with disabilities in gainful employment through assistive techniques and technologies. I am particularly pleased that the Telenor Myanmar team, in collaboration with Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI), has decided to establish Open Mind in Myanmar,” says Cecilie Heuch, EVP and Chief People Officer of Telenor Group.
A chance for Myo to prove himself
The programme’s introduction in Myanmar was officially announced on 20 January at a press conference in Yangon. Present at the launch were also three programme candidates, who will engage as full-time employees for one year within competence areas like Finance, People and Corporate Affairs.
“It is extraordinary that corporations like Telenor open their doors to provide equal opportunity for people with disabilities. I am thankful and proud to be among the first candidates of the Open Mind programme at Telenor Myanmar. I hope this creates inspiration for all other companies in Myanmar to promote more employment opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Myo Min Htet, one of Telenor Myanmar Open Mind programme’s candidates.
Selina Lomholdt, Chief People Officer of Telenor Myanmar, points out that it’s only natural for Telenor as a company to tap into the creativity, ideas and talent of people, regardless of gender, nationality, age, or physical and mental disabilities.
“At Telenor, we believe that a diverse and inclusive environment is essential to gain the insight and understanding we need to be truly relevant to customers and society. As we connect our customers to what matters most to them, our organisation needs to reflect the diversity and the dynamism we see and serve in society. The Open Mind programme has a proven track record in other Telenor markets, and we are delighted to bring it to Myanmar in collaboration with MILI,” she said.
Entering the labour market
After completing the programme, all Open Mind candidates are either offered permanent jobs at Telenor or supported to get employment in other companies. Heuch, who was also present at the press conference, said she agrees with Htet, hoping to see other companies in the market take notice of the new programme.
“We hope Telenor Open Mind will stimulate other companies in Myanmar to hire and train people with disabilities, just like any other people in all forms of organizations. Telenor strongly believes that people with disabilities or differently-abled people deserve an equal opportunity to excel in their careers like any other person. This traineeship will be a stepping stone for persons with disabilities here in Myanmar, to succeed and prove their merit in the corporate world. I would like to thank MILI for what I hope will be a fruitful and long collaboration,” said Heuch.
Since its introduction in Norway in 1996, Telenor Open Mind has benefitted more than 300 people. Some of them have become full-time employees at Telenor and others have moved on to successful careers at other companies. 75 percent of those who have gone through an Open Mind programme during these two decades are currently employed, either within Telenor or elsewhere. The programme has also been established in Sweden and Pakistan, respectively in 2007 and 2013.