In 2013, unemployment rates for those under 25 years old skyrocketed in European countries. This represented 6 million young Europeans registered as unemployed, plus 8 million who did not pursue studies or vocational training. These rates are proportionally higher concerning the young disabled persons. Data from the member states showed that they are much more exposed to unemployment with rates (with strong disparity among European countries) twice as high on average when compared with non-disabled persons!
It was on these foundations that LADAPT (France), EASPD (Belgium), Fundación Emplea (Spain) and Scuola Viva Onlus (Italy) met. The DESC European project aimed at promoting equal employment opportunities and securing professional career paths for young people with disabilities in Europe as advocated in article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
The project was divided in 3 steps:
- Identification of promising practices in the field of securing professional career paths. The guide of best practices was disseminated to professionals of service providers, as well as civil society partners.
- Conception of a Toolkit and a training programme to secure career paths and supported employment for staff of service providers’ facilities (120 persons were trained in the 4 countries of the partnership). Its goal was to facilitate the access for young people with disabilities to secure professional career paths.
- Development of the European Disability Employment Week – EDEW, based on the French experience organising the “Semaine pour l’emploi des personnes handicapées –SEPH ”. More than 100 people were trained to the tools of EDEW in Europe.
The project has now entered its second phase: ‘Back to the Ground’. In the coming years, the partners will work actively on providing convincing evidence of the effectiveness of inclusive employment methodologies for all stakeholders involved.
The project will be structured in 3 sections:
- Implement the Toolkit and training programme previously developed at national level. Each partner will implement the project for a full year in 5 service providers (per country), supporting persons with disabilities and working with employers and other relevant stakeholders.
- Measure and evaluate what impact this implementation has on the life and work of 1) service providers; 2) employers; 3) persons with disabilities; 4) other stakeholders such as families, public employment services, social services and leisure services.
- Continue the development avec promotion of the European Disability Employment Week.