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We All Can: Gerhard Formann

Wir Alle Können (We All Can) reflects the many success stories of people with disabilities who overcame barriers to succeed in their professional careers. Gerhard Formann is one of them!


Gerhard Formann has embarked on an ambitious career path. Gerhard started at BUWOG in the telephone switchboard from where he developed over the years into the customer service department of the property management company. In 2015 he was offered a position at the Jewish Vocational Training Center, where he helped clients find work and internships. At the beginning of my career I was very lucky, with the privatization it became more and more difficult. After thirty years of professional experience, Gerhard dared to change direction in the economy and decided to start his own business. He currently works as a freelancer for the organizations Dopeg and the Hilfgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs


When it comes to the integration of people with disabilities into the labor market, Gerhard believes it is important that integration comes from both sides, and that it should never be a one-sided process. People with disabilities should contribute to what they are good at and what they prefer, and employers should also focus on skills and experience in job interviews and less on the disability. 


I think every interview should include questions about why someone applied for the job and why that particular job. Only when these questions have been answered should employers focus on the person’s disability and be open to adapting the work environment to the person’s personal needs, both through necessary tools and mentoring. If we succeed in doing this, we will have taken a big step. 


Employers’ focus on a person’s disability and what they cannot do is much more pronounced than the openness to look at the big picture and see what skills and abilities that person has and how useful they are to the company. Gerhard loves theater and music, and one of his favorite hobbies is running. He often takes part in marathons. I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by supervisors and colleagues who have helped me over many years of work, who have built me through the company, and then me them. Integration simply has to come from both directions.