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The goal of AEMA is to develop an accessibility framework, which is intended to be a comprehensive and holistic system to assess and document accessibility of Adult Education Providers. A substantial outcome to achieve this is through the development of a ‘maturity matrix’, an organisational assessment tool which identifies ascending levels of achievement.

Five domains to be used in the matrix have been identified as areas which impact on disabled people in participating fully in adult education: Attitudinal, Environmental, Information and Public Relations, Technical and Didactical.

A preliminary search of national and European projects was carried out by the AEMA Network partners to establish current standards and guidelines. The focus groups aimed to identify what is working well for disabled people which may be disseminated to other services, as well as the barriers to adult education and what needs to change to improve opportunities for disabled people to participate in adult education.

The document below is a summary of the outcomes of the focus groups and desk research led by the AEMA Network partners.

INVITATION

The STOA Panel of the European Parliament cordially invites you to the workshop “Robots: enabling the disabled or disabling the abled”

Have you ever wondered how much more difficult it is to live with a disability? Do you care about equal rights and accessibility for everyone?
What assistive technologies can be used to create an inclusive environment for persons with disabilities in society, education and employment?
What if, in the near future, robots render the division between abled-bodied and disabled persons irrelevant?

Find out about these questions and many more at our workshop

Please register here by 16 June 2015

Webstreaming available

On 18 and 19 June 2015, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Thomas More University College are jointly hosting the ‘Engineering4Society’ conference in Leuven, Belgium.

The conference aspires to make a larger call to engineers to pay attention to the way we think about the consequences of design, materials used, manufacturing processes, and waste disposal practices. It will explore the nexus between communities, environment, education, business, design, and professional engineering. Engineering4Society is an invitation to create new ways to ‘design’ a sustainable future and to provide creative solutions to address problems as poverty, exclusion, addiction, discrimination, violence, hate, and disabilities.

The conference will offer a multidisciplinary platform, looking at inspiring examples from all over the world.

Topics and areas of interest include:

•              engineering case studies focusing on the environment and related social factors;

•              engineering cases that helped to bring more harmony, understanding and compassion;

•              methods of teaching and/or practicing participatory design in engineering;

•              inspiring examples of Engineering4Society in practice.

Speakers and sessions
Over 30 speakers from all over the world will share their expertise and knowledge and present innovative projects and studies focusing on social and environmental engineering. Have a closer look at some of our keynote speakers :

Prof. Dr. Ir. Joost Duflou, KU Leuven, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Belgium .
“Systematic selective recycling is becoming the preferred end-of-life (EOL) treatment. In this lecture the case of EOL treatment of flat screen LCD TVs will be presented. Both the treatment of current product types and the opportunities to facilitate EOL material separation by means of innovative joint design for future models will be discussed.”

Daria Loi, UX Innovation Manager, Intel Corporation, USA .
“In her talk, Daria Loi urges the engineering professions to create sustainable futures by embracing novel processes and by paying attention to the potential consequences of their work. More specifically, this talk focuses on the opportunities offered by Participatory Design practice – on how to develop creative solutions to issues that afflict our planet by partnering with end users and key stakeholders.”

Egbert Lox, Senior Vice President Government Affairs Umicore, Belgium .
“Our current way of life includes the widespread use of many devices. Applying the concept of circular economy can alleviate the stress on the supply situation of the technology metals and solves at the same time the environmental burden devices could constitute at the end of their service life. Applying high technology in all the steps from the conception up to the extraction of the technology metals at the end of its use can maximize the benefits. The presentation will cover these aspects and illustrate the initiatives taken already to endeavors of sustainability and responsibility in these aspects.”

Caitrin Lynch, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Olin College of Engineering, USA.
“Caitrin will speak about the Engineering for Humanity course she co-teaches at Olin College of Engineering (Boston, USA). She will connect the Engineering for Humanity course to the larger Olin goals of embedding social perspectives into engineering education and practice, and she will place it in the wider context of leveraging user-centered design as an important path to educating engineers to embed their work in society.”

Peter-Paul Verbeek, Professor of Philosophy of Technology. University of Twente, the Netherlands.
“Technologies have an inherent moral dimension. How can designers deal with this moral dimension of the technologies they are developing? In his presentation, Professor Verbeek will investigate how the approach of ‘moral mediation’ can inform the ethics of design. The paper will develop a heuristic tool for designers to anticipate the potential moral impact of a technology-in-design, to evaluate its quality, and to design morality into technologies in a responsible way.”

Presentation of the new postgraduate course on Community Service Engineering

The CSE project is developing a European multi-campus joined postgraduate curriculum that will offer engineers a sound background in the social profit sector; insights in user-centered design, and assistive technology, social and intercultural skills to interact with the social profit sector and a collaborative place to learn in an international environment. KU Leuven is working on the curriculum in collaboration with the Thomas More University College.

The Engineering4Society conference is organised by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven  in collaboration with the Thomas More University College . . It is morally and financially supported by the John E. Fetzer Institute (USA) and its intrinsic value is recognised by the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology.

Visit the conference website and learn more about the speakers and the programme.
Registration closes on 12th of June.
The organising committee is looking forward to meet you in Belgium in June.
Questions? Contact ingrid.adriaensen@thomasmore.be

Since November 2014, the incluD-ed Network has been working on the
pilot study “Quality Factors of Inclusive Education in Europe. An
Exploration”. The study aims to explore the quality of inclusive
processes in inclusive schools in several European countries, taking
into account elements relating to culture, policies and practices as
well as elements relating to available human and material resources.
Inclusive education, with its overall objective to meet the common and
special needs of students, is a demanding process in which these two
types of elements combine.

The pilot study will be conducted in the four European countries of
incluD-ed‘s founding members (Spain, France, Finland and the Czech
Republic) as well as in Austria, the UK, Ireland and Iceland where
incluD-ed counts with associated member organisations.
Jorge Calero Martínez, renowned expert in inclusive education from the
University of Barcelona (Spain), leads the theoretical and analytical
part of the study. incluD-ed Network expert María Antonia Casanova and
the incluD-ed Network Secretariat are responsible for validation and
practical aspects of the study such as the selection of school samples
that will respond to the study’s questionnaire. The study, under the
overall coordination of the incluD-ed leading team at Fundación ONCE,
will be the final publication of the incluD-ed Network.

More at http://includ-ed.eu/newsandevents/includ-ed-working-pilot-study-%E2%80%9Cquality-factors-inclusive-education-europe-exploration%E2%80%9D

What is the new role of organisations that want to be of support for persons with disabilities? What do users want service providers to do to promote inclusion and implement the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD)? There is a need to reinforce cooperation between persons with disabilities, public authorities and support services organisations to develop comprehensive policies and to facilitate the right support services. EASPD is organising a panel debate with Members of the European Parliament, Disable Persons Organisations (DPOs) and support services organisations on how to reinforce “Users’ involvement in all aspects of support services”.

A theoretical concept has been created to define the new way of developing support for persons with disabilities: “Co-production”. This term refers to a method and the kind of social services needed to come with a more inclusive society. Freedom of choice for the users, individualised care support services and a very strong cooperation between all stakeholders involved to design, develop and deliver the services. As for the cinematographic sector, in the delivery of services sector, every link in the production chain is vital to have the best result possible with the highest quality.

The event will be part of the EASPD multiannual strategy to reach out to all actors in society promoting inclusion through high quality services. EASPD has already started to implement the strategy by consulting European umbrella disabled people organisations (DPOs). This event will also be a great opportunity to present the results of the research paper on the situation of the workforce in the health and care sector across Europe.

Therefore, EASPD is organising a panel debate with the Members of the European Parliament, the organisations representing persons with disabilities and service providers on how to reinforce “Users’ involvement” in all aspects of service provision.

This event will take place the 2nd June 2015 from 09h00 to 13h00 and will be a great opportunity to address:

- EASPD multiannual strategy implementation: Reaching Out
- The research paper “Strengthening the workforce for people with disabilities: Initial mapping across Europe”
- The list of questions published by the United Nations following up the evaluation of the report submitted by the European Union on the implementation of the CRPD.
- Coproduction and the implementation plan of the European Disability Strategy

Practical information

- Full programme of the Hearing
- Concept Note
- To register or receive more information, please contact Nieves Tejada, EASPD Communications Officer

What is the situation for the workforce in the health and care sectors? Are there common trends in Europe when it comes to wages, working conditions and staff training requirements? How have budgetary cuts impacted the sector? Following the establishment of the European Observatory of Human Resources in 2014, EASPD now presents the first results of the research conducted by Prof. Dr. Jane Lethbridge. It maps the training and educational requirements in the disability sector, the workforce situation and future job creation potential of the social service provision.

The social care workforce for persons with disabilities and senior citizens is one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of employment expansion in Europe. However, there are unmistakable signs that austerity measures are hindering this expansion, even though demand for social services will remain high, in light of Europe’s ageing population. Budget reductions are affecting not only the availability and affordability of the services, but also the working conditions and overall quality of services. Whilst results minutely varied from one European country to another, this research shows that altogether, the sector is characterised by high training needs, low pay jobs, low status and part-time hour contracts.

Similar trends in Europe

This research has identified similar trends across Europe that must be addressed to secure a high quality, motivated and trained workforce in order to deliver first-rate services, fully adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities.

Recruitment procedures, staff shortages and lack of training standards:

36% of the study’s respondents reported that no qualifications were necessary to start working in social care at entry-level, as opposed to the 44% that reported a vocational qualification was compulsory. Nevertheless in almost all countries basic care workers must have acquired secondary-level education in order to receive employment. In many European countries, the shortage of social care workers and/or the low standards of recruitment, result in the employment of unqualified staff. The lack of social workers is particularly affecting rural areas.

Whilst in Western European countries, new systems of training are being introduced (Germany, the Netherlands), in Central and Eastern Europe attempts have been made to improve the level of credentials needed to qualify for employment in the sector (Hungary). There is not the same trend towards improved levels of training though. In England there was an attempt to introduce a national vocational qualification for all care workers, but it was abandoned because of the difficulties in recruiting staff, due to budgetary cuts. In some countries such as Austria, contracts between service providers and regional authorities define the level of qualifications, with this ratio increasingly being determined by the level of funding. The research concludes that there are some measures in place to improve the level of qualifications, but low wages in the sector makes it difficult to recruit in many countries. In Bulgaria for example, social workers can be paid less than 1 € per hour. Moreover, the impact of austerity policies on budgets for social care is resulting in pressure to reduce staff costs, either through reducing the level of qualifications required or through lower wages. Consequently applicants can enter care work without any relevant qualifications or experience, and in some cases organisations are required to train them.

The disability sector is undergoing extensive changes such as the move from a medical model to a social model, more in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Therefore, there is an ever-important need for training in all categories of the social sector’s workforce, as reported by the majority of the study’s respondents (61% of the services providers and 78% of the umbrella organisations).

Workforce mobility:

Despite the existence of several barriers (language skills, transferability of qualifications), there is a gradually increasing trend for social care workers to cross borders to find work. When analysing mobility, it is also important to take into account the economic situation of the sector in each country. The research shows two main trends: Firstly, European countries experiencing “care drain”, where qualified care workers are moving to other countries to find better paid work. This situation damages organisations in the country of origin, as they used their resources to train future migrant workers. Secondly, European countries in need of social care workers where public allowances for care are sometimes used to informally employ a migrant worker without training or employment security.

7 Recommendations for the Sector:

- Training at EU level: minimum skills for working with people with disabilities should be validated across Europe, including involving users in training.
- Quality control and clear measures to define quality in services: development of a general funding standard and quality framework for services at European level.
- Share experiences and innovative practices on recruitment and induction across Europe to improve standards of care services.
- Reinforce the consultation process between national governments and service providers to show to decision makers the importance of pay and working conditions in the social care sector.
- Identify the successful and unsuccessful policies at the national level.
- Establish a “culture of learning” to have a trans-national consensus on the skills needed to work with people with disabilities.
- Development of the European Care Certificate and supporting e-learning initiatives.

The disability sector faces several challenges to the future of service provision. The supply of a well-trained, experienced workforce will be essential, and will depend upon two essential aspects: funding opportunities and political will. There is a job creation potential to be explored in the sector.