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Members voice: Margarita Vocational Training Centre presents at the 13th European Conference on Supported Employment

The 13th European Conference on Supported Employment took place in 27-29 of May, in Amsterdam. It was organised by EUSE (European Union on Supported Employment) and it was entitled “Transitions”. Transition from unemployment to employment, going back to work from illness, progressing to another job placement as a result of equal opportunities for everyone: these are all transitions, and they will dominate the field of Supported Employment for the next ten years. Also, services instead of programmes are taking the lead, so that the needs of more people with a disability are adequately met.

''Margarita'' was represented by members of the team that constitute the Supported Employment Service of the organization. ''Margarita's'' delegates presented the placement of Themis in the work place of a doorkeeper, at a Coco-Mat Hotel in Kifissia, Greece. Themis has Down syndrome and intellectual disability (ID). ID is characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning (reasoning, learning, problem solving) and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills. Despite her difficulties, her cooperation with her job coach and her employer resulted in carving a new job that matches her wishes and needs with the needs of her employer.

Themis participated in the presentation and interacted with the audience, conveying the advantageous consequences in her life and her maturation, brought by the fact that she is now a ''working lady''.

Today, this young lady:

  • Ιs saving the money from her salary for future needs
  • Ιs more diligent in housekeeping (while living with her family)
  • Is taking good care of her health, by eating more regularly (working has attached more structure in her everyday life)Ηas started studying English, thus she is leading herself towards lifelong learning
  • Has broadened her circle of friends
  • Is watching the maturation of her relationship with the people she loves, since she realises the need to live a more balanced life

Her case study can constitute a paradigm for people with ID in Greece, with her placement in a work place not typical for people with ID.

Representatives of Supported Employment of persons with an Intellectual Disability in Greece (''Margarita'' and ''Theotokos'') met at this Conference, along with European stakeholders on disability. Transitions in workplace and shift of the center of their attention from job readiness to job matching are being more strongly established in the practice of these organisations in Greece.

Maria Mouka
Occupational Therapist 
Margarita Vocational Training Centre

Members' voice is an open space for EASPD member organisations to publish their opinion articles on our newsletter. This article does not necessarily reflect the official position of EASPD.