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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.

On 1 December 2015, the final M-CARE conference will be organised in
Brussels, Belgium at VLEVA premises.
The event “Caring for people with disabilities and older people:
challenges, opportunities and (mobile/online) training solutions” will
focus on the importance of good quality personal caregiving (PCG) for
people with disabilities and older people. Focus will be on caring in
a broader perspective, and how M-CARE’s (mobile/online) training
solutions contribute to successful PCGs.

Target groups:
(Potential) personal assistants/personal caregivers
Nurses
Social workers
People with disabilities
Parents/friends/colleagues
Representative organisations of people with disabilities
Policy makers

Where?:
Vlaams-Europees verbindingsagentschap vzw (please download the itinerary)
Kortenberglaan 71
1000 Brussels
Belgium

Practicalities:
English is the used language.
Premises are wheelchair accessible.

Registration:
Attendance is free but registration is obligatory, and is possible via
below link. Any other costs incurred in participating to this event
(hotel, travel, subsistence, etc.) must be paid for by the attendee.

Registration possible via
http://mcare-project.eu/m-care-conference-brussels-belgium-1-december-2015/

The seventh edition of the International Conference of Adaptive and Accessible Virtual Learning Environment (CAVA^3 2015) will take place in Novo Hamburgo (RS) (Brazil) from 08 till 11 September, 2015. It is being organized in cooperation with the Feevale University and five other Brazilian Universities.

CAVA 2015 website is available via http://www.feevale.br/cava2015.

The Call for paper is now open, we await your contributions!

2015 INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION - 2-4 September 2015 – Manisa/TURKEY

The “International Congress on Accessible Information” will be held by Turkish Platform on Accessible Information and hosted by Celal Bayar University between 2 and 4 September 2015 in Manisa/Turkey. The secretarial works of the Congress will be conducted by Celal Bayar University (Secretariat of Turkish Platform of Accessible Information). Numerous organizations, particularly the governmental institutions have cooperated with us in organization of the Congress. Cooperation interviews with some other institutions are currently in progress.

We anticipate that the congress will attract considerable attention and active participation of national and foreign representatives, experts or academicians from various ICT Firms, governmental institutions, civil society organizations, disability centers of universities.

The Congress is of vital importance due to the fact that it will provide a platform and for ICT companies to reach their technology products or services to their target groups and for academicians, researchers or representatives of various organizations to exchange their experiences; to discuss the current situation and the existing challenges or to draft a plan of action for the tasks to be carried out in the field of information services designed for persons with disabilities.

Your participation to this significant event will certainly contribute a lot to reaching its objectives. We hope that “2015 International Congress on Accessible Information” will constitute a major step forward in the field of ICT accessibility.

CONGRESS ACTIVITIES:

Panel Discussion: The Panel Discussions will provide an opportunity for the experts to exchange information and ideas on the general situation and challenges of information services for persons with disabilities both in Turkey and in the World. Proposals for sessions are welcomed.

Papers: Summaries of academic papers to be submitted by participants will be shared and assessed by the relevant board members and duly published on our website. Invited papers from eminent experts will also take place among other academic papers.

Presentations by ICT Companies and Seminars:

The seminars to be held will aim ensuring exchange of information and experiences between organizations and individuals. Universities, ICT Firms and civil society organizations are expected to display applications and technological innovations.

Workshop: Workshop on FATIH (Movement of Enhancing Opportunities and Improving Technology) Project and Persons with Disabilities will be organized for the fourth time within the scope of the Congress. The workshop was organized for the first time in 2012 in Manisa as part of a symposium and it contributes a lot to the researches in the field.

Applied ICT Workshops:

Within the scope of the Congress, various workshops will be held in order to make a contribution to applications in the field. The participants of the workshops will receive certificates of attendance.

  • E-Commerce Workshop: The workshop will aim providing e-commerce training to participants, particularly to persons with disabilities.
  • Workshop on Web accessibility and usability: The workshop will aim providing basic information to the participants about web accessibility and usability.

Booths: Booths that will be open during the Congress activities will provide an opportunity for organizations and companies to display their projects and applications.

 ICT Accessibility Awards

Turkish Platform on Accessible Information whose secretariat work is conducted by Celal Bayar University will grant accessibility awards to successful information services for persons with disabilities.

The Award Ceremony will take place on 2 September 2015, shortly after the opening ceremony. The award ceremony, being held for the third time, aims granting awards to individuals or organizations that have directly or indirectly contributed to persons with disabilities in terms of facilitating access to education, information services and public services or enhancing social and economic life by making use of information technologies.