Project Type Projets de transfert d'innovation
Pathways to Work’ (2009 – 2011)
a Leonardo da Vinci Transfer of Innovation project under the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission
People with disabilities
At least 16 % of the EU-27 working age population is disabled, many with the ability and the will to work. People with disabilities therefore constitute a significant potential for contribution to the economy and the labour market. The employment rate of people with disabilities, 50 % as opposed to over 68 % for non-disabled people, is already an indication that the potential of people with disabilities remains greatly underused. People with disabilities are almost twice as likely to be inactive compared to non-disabled people. Moreover, the likelihood of disability increases with age, and, in the light of the current EU demographic situation, the occurrence of disability is expected to increase. Therefore it is crucial to address the needs of people with disabilities in order to allow them to better integrate into the labour market and to participate in society.
Workforce diversity has become a major management strategy for many employers because it makes good business sense. Managing diversity involves the creation of an open, supportive, and responsive organization in which diversity is acknowledged and valued. Employers that include people with disabilities in their diversity programs increase their competitive advantage according to recent studies.
International experience, though, shows that most employers are not ready to employ people with disabilities. They do not have the necessary information, knowledge and expert support for employing people with disabilities.
Pathways to work project is coordinated by Keskuspuisto Vocational College in Finland. Other members of the consortium are from Wales (Gower College Swansea), Hungary (Salva Vita Foundation), Romania (Pentru Voi Foundation) and Estonia (Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre ).
The employment of people with special needs is a theme which has been overlooked in all partner countries.
In Finland according to the studies made by the Ministry of Labor in 2006 there has been over 91 000 people with special needs applying for jobs out of which 67 000 were unemployed. On the other hand according to The Confederation of Finnish Industries EK, there are fields that lack labor force, for example service fields. On the national level actions has been taken to improve the situation for example by offering funding through the European Social Fund to projects that will improve the employment situation of those with special challenges. One obstacle is employers lack of information. We need new kinds of tools and methods to increase employers knowledge about disabled people and their compentences and skills. Same time we had to learn to use same kind of methodology between employers and schools and NGOs. Diversity managament gives us a very good context to organize training and learning environment where to learn to understand each other. The experiences, information and good practices about diversity management will help to get people with special challenges to work in open labour market.
The aim is to increase the employers’ knowledge in diversity management in order to encourage the employers to employ people with special challenges and needs. Everyone has their own compentence area. If we found a job where this competence can be fully used and at the same time we offer employer knowledge about diversity managemet we can reach permanent employment relationships. At the same time we have to train our own staff to increase their knowledge about diversity management. At this project we will train trainers etc. job coaches who are tailoring the work tasks suitable for the job seekers competence area. At this point it is very important that also the trainers have clear view about diversity management. This is the key element in interaction between employers and trainers. Training modules gives either employers and also partner organisations staff same kind of methodology to communicate and approach our client´s situation.
As a products the project will produce 1) the recruiting model which improve and enhance the chances for work practice and employment for those with special needs. 2) The training model to employers and trainers will give the methodology to speak same language 3) internal audit model which can be used in every countries.
Main goals of the project
- to enhance the employment of people with disabilities in the mainstream labour market;
- to increase employers’ knowledge about diversity management in order to encourage them to employ people with disabilities;
- to increase the knowledge and skills of project partners’ staff (trainers/teachers) in diversity management.
Égalité des chances
Santé Humaine et Action Sociale
- a recruiting model that helps both the employer and the employee with disabilities to find the right person for the right job;
- a training model for employers and disability employment trainers on diversity management;
- an internal auditing model that could be used in similar types of projects;
- a project website and Ning site for dissemination and project communication.