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Inspiring innovations from the Employment for All Awards 2020

On the 4th May, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and its partner LADAPT revealed the winners of this year’s Employment for All Awards, in the framework of their conference “The Road to Employment for Persons with Disabilities”. For the fourth time, the Employment for All Awards has collected best practices from across Europe to support innovation and highlight inspiring practices that empower persons with disabilities to join the open labour market. This year saw the crowning of the Dafür service provider from Austria and the Grupo Sifu employer from Spain. The two best practices from each category will discuss their work in webinars held on the 5th May.
“What’s your job?” This question, or one of its variants, is often one of the first things we ask when meeting new people. Employment is  an intrinsic part of a person’s identification and feeling of self-worth, in addition to the economic autonomy and empowerment it provides. In this regard, employment is truly a human right, and we should strive for everyone to have an equal access and opportunity to find a job. Nonetheless, statistics show us that persons with disabilities are nearly twice as likely to suffer from unemployment in Europe, 53% compared to 28% for the general population.
These statistics are taken during a ‘normal’ year. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermaths are sure to change the hand. The lockdown measures are slowing down the economy, businesses are closing or restructuring, experts are warning of full-blown recession. If we’ve learned anything from the 2008 financial crisis, it’s that in such times of economic difficulties, those more vulnerable and further away from the labour market are the most impacted. They lose their jobs first, they have a harder time finding a new job, and they are the least likely to benefit from employment support programmes such as the Youth Guarantee.
Jim Crowe, President of EASPD, underlined “it is now more important than ever to work together, pool our ideas and inspire each other to find creative ways to support persons with disabilities find meaningful employment”. EASPD and LADAPT are thus delighted to present you the results of the 4th edition of the Employment for All Awards. An international panel of 12 experts including employers, service providers, persons with disabilities, previous awards winners, academics and policy makers have assessed the 49 practices received from 20 countries across Europe and identified the three most inspiring practices developed by service providers, and three developed by employers.
Fabrizio Féa, vice-President of EASPD and chair of the Standing Committee on Employment, commented “Once again, these Employment for All Awards have brought forward a range of practices that can inspire us all in our work towards an inclusive society, and we would like to thank each and every applicant for the excellent work they are doing. It was really difficult to decide who the winners were, but we had to.”
The two runners-up practices developed in the service providers’ category are:

  • ‘KLAPJob – employment for people with intellectual disabilities’ by Landsforeningen LEV. This Danish practice focused on marginalized groups amongst persons with disabilities, and has developed a close and effective collaboration with companies, leading to high retention rates.
  • ‘XIB – Barcelona Network for Labour Market Inclusion’, a joint initiative between the Barcelona City Council and ten social entities. This project is a model of public sector leadership in inclusion and has been very successful in engaging NGOs and businesses.

And the winner of the Employment for All Awards 2020 most promising practice amongst service providers is…

  • ‘Job coaching in Vorarlberg’, developed by Dafür in Austria. This is a supported employment service with impressive paid employment outcomes at national wages, that has the potential to be scaled up.

The two runners-up practices developed in the businesses/employers’ category are:

  • Verve’, developed by the NOW group social enterprise. This practice links concerns with employment to industry trends and is particularly impactful in developing industry standards in trainings.
  • ‘With Eker, Autism in Workforce (Otizmli Bireyler Eker’le İş Gücünde), by Eker & Tohum. This open labour market company has developed a great model to hire persons with disabilities in a fruitful collaboration with the Turkish public employment services.

And the winner of the Employment for All Awards 2020 most promising practice amongst businesses and employers is…

  • ‘Successful Inclusive Enterprise’ of Grupo Sifu in Spain. This long-standing inclusive practice in the labour market has shown its success and added value over the years, delivering good outcomes despite changing environment. Their work promises to be particularly relevant and needed in the coming years.

EASPD and LADAPT congratulate Dafür and Grupo Sifu for being the winners of the 2020 ‘Employment for All Awards’, and for the inspiring work they are doing for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the open labour market.
Do you want to find out more? Each of the practices of Dafür, the Barcelona City Council, Grupo Sifu and Eker&Tohum will be presented and discussed tomorrow Tuesday 5th from 11.45 to 12.45 in four webinars. Register here to join.


Background information
Note to editors

The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 17,000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.

For more information please contact:

Rachel Vaughan
EASPD Communications Officer
+32 2 233  77 20