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Category: employability

Interview with Karel Van Isacker on the need for basic ICT and AT training for people with disabilities. This is made possible through the free outcomes of the ViPi (www.vipi-project.eu) and the ATLEC (www.atlec-project.eu) projects.

This video was made by the Web 2LLP project (http://web2llp.eu).

The RECALL Stakeholder Event takes place at the Deaf Cultural Centre, Ladywood Road, Birmingham B16 8SZ, on 16th October, 2012 from 9:30am – 12:30pm (lunch included).

Route Mate is an Android application that uses location-based services (e.g. GPS & Google Maps) to help route learning for people with intellectual disabilities and/or additional sensory impairments. The application allows students to plan their own journeys with the help of a trainer. They can plan destination/departure points, points of interest on route, enter the number of an emergency contact and practise walking routes until they become familiar with them.
Route Mate is developed by experts at Nottingham Trent University and tested by people with a range of disabilities across the partner organisations of UK, Greece, Romania & Bulgaria.

Programme

  • 9:30am: Arrival, registration & refreshments
  • 10:00am: Welcome & overview of the project
  • 10:15am – 11am: Demonstration by application developer
  • 11:30am – 12pm: Workshop activities
  • 12:00pm: Lunch & networking

Who should attend?: Are you involved in supporting students to gain independent travel skills? Do you work with students who have always been provided transport and now need extra support before accessing college or employment? This is the event for you.
Why should I attend?: Free route planning software, see a demonstration of the technology, talk to the developers, users and testers.

There is no charge to attend the exhibition, but as places are limited, those wishing to attend should contact Jo Reilly by email at jo.reilly@bid.org.uk for a booking form as soon as possible. Please note there are no walk-ins permitted.

Visit http://recall-project.eu and http://isrg.org.uk for further information about this project.

The MIREIA (Measuring the Impact of eInclusion Actors) study aims to better understand the role of e-Inclusion intermediary actors and to create adequate instruments to facilitate the demonstration of their outcomes and their contribution to the achievement of European e- Inclusion policy goals.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play an essential role in supporting daily life in today’s digital society. The EU policy on e-Inclusion aims at reducing gaps in ICT usage and promoting the use of ICT to overcome exclusion, and improve economic performance, employment opportunities, quality of life, social participation and cohesion.

The MIREIA research aims to address two key gaps identified at policy and research level:
a) the need to characterize the diverse set of actors involved in implementing eInclusion policies;
b) the lack of common methodologies and practice in measuring the impact of ICT for socio-economic inclusion.

The MIREIA research will carry out the following activities:

  1. State of play Analysis – Review of Literature and practice on measuring ICT for socio-economic inclusion.
  2. Selected Locality Mapping – to provide a detailed picture of eInclusion local landscapes in selected localities
  3. Conceptualization and design of the Impact Assessment Framework for eInclusion intermediaries
  4. Survey design and testing of the Impact Assessment Framework for eInclusion intermediaries
  5. Development of an implementation methodology for applying the Impact Assessment Framework for eInclusion intermediaries
  6. Stakeholders‘ Engagement, communication and dissemination

Dates
Start date: 1st January 2012
Preparatory studies: January – May 2012
1st Experts Workshop: 3-4 May 2012 (JRC-IPTS, Seville)
Stakeholders’ Consultation Workshops – 6th September 2012
2nd Experts’ Workshops: June 2013
Final Stakeholders’ Consultation Event: October 2013
End date: 31st December 2013

MIREIA website

TRAVORS2 and EPC LLL projects invite you on 7 September 2012 to the launch of the European Disability Employment Practitioner Certificate, which will take place in ANkara (Turkey). The qualification is open to practicing professionals with or without training.

The European Disability Employment Practitioner Certificate (in the UK the BTEC Professional Certificate – European Disability Employment Practitioner) or EPC, is for people who support individuals with disabilities to gain or stay in work. It is validated in the UK by Edexcel at level 4 (EQF level 5), the same level as an HNC. The qualification is provided by two specialist disabilityemployment companies, VRC and RNL, supported by a specialist education centre, TADCO, and an education and qualifications developer, SLD.
Employment Advisors and Managers who are already capable may take the qualification without prior training. For those who want to upgrade their skill and improve their results, there are several options for training tailored to their situation.
Teaching modes can include face to face teaching, online teaching, and distance mentoring all supported by in-work practice.

How to get the Qualification
Choosing Units: The EPC has six Units; a qualification consists of Unit 1 plus at least one other. Candidates choose Units according to their skills and the work they do.

The Units are:
1. Professional skills and ethics: compulsory common elements including essential
communication, counselling skills; basic law and ethics.
2. Engaging with client communities: outreach and community-based working; working
with organisations and specialist services
3. Enabling clients to obtain work: helping clients assess, set goals, plan and progress to
work, including job search, job preparation and return to work
4. Supporting clients in work: graduated return to work and helping clients and employers
to implement work adjustments
5. Supporting employers to employ disabled people: developing employment
opportunities and projects, and supporting employers to recruit disabled people
6. Case management: working with other professionals, receiving eligible clients, keeping
records and reviewing cases to improve future practice.

Assessment
Candidates for the EPC are assessed on their ability to apply skills and knowledge in a work situation. The main ways of doing this are to:
– Be observed by the assessor. Ideally this will be done by the assessor sitting in, but it can also be done by video link or recording
– Reports, recommendations, assessments etc. that you have produced.
– Written case-studies. They allow you to explain your decisions and reflect on how you have gone about your work
– Get another competent person – such as your manager, an employer, or in some instances an individual client – to write something describing your actions

The assessor will usually want to discuss the relevant work with you, to check your depth of understanding and your reasoning.

Getting the qualification
After registering your interest, we send you a Diagnostic Questionnaire to discuss with us and return with examples of your written work. This helps decide which Units you want to take, and whether you are ready for the assessment. At this point you would usually decide whether to go straight to the qualification or to do some training as well. When you Register for the Qualification, we send you a Students Manual, with everything you need to know, including assessment criteria, procedures and regulations. We advise you on what you will need to provide for the assessment. You then provide the assessment materials and we mark them against the criteria, providing feedback and opportunities for you to show your work in the best light. When you have completed, we will provide your Edexcel Certificate.
You will be enrolled with us for nine months which includes one opportunity for reassessment if you need it (your registration with Edexcel lasts for three years).

The EC funded ATLEC (Assistive Technology Learning Through A Unified Curriculum – 518229-LLP-1-2011-1-UK-LEONARDO-LMP) project organises its kick-off meeting on 16-17/01/2012 in Nottingham, UK.

Studies throughout Europe under ACCESSIBLE and AEGIS (FP7 projects), and KA3 project ImPaCT highlighted in their pan-European surveys with over 1000 end-users and AT (Assistive Technologies) specialists that training is the core barrier towards using AT by end-users. This lack of training is subsequently also recognised as main barrier to assume a daily job in a regular working environment.

Although there are European initiatives such as EASTIN (www.eastin.info), which already gather (partial) ISO structured databases on AT, the actual ICT AT training is lacking, or not meeting the needs of the end-users. Although there are a number of initiatives on AT across the EU such as ATVET (UK), Blind people in Qualification (Austria), IMPACT, Keeping Pace with Assistive Technology (IT), they mainly address training of the trainers and professionals working with PwDs, and not the actual beneficiaries (people with disabilities) which remain largely unaware of the ICT AT that is there for them. ATLEC is to fill this gap and will focus on training the learners in specific skills particularly tailored according to their individual and employability needs, while also creating the job profile of ICT AT trainer.

The innovation of this project lies with the user centred design approach as well as the individual tailoring of the ATLEC curriculum and training materials to the learners’ needs, combined with the implementation of mobile learning objects to support the training, as well as applying mentoring as an additional supportive aspect of the ATLEC training services. The focus is on the person with disability (his/her needs and abilities as a learner), as well as the trainer.

Also the pedagogical methodologies will be innovative, using blended learning (F2F, online and mobile), resulting in accessible WCAG2.0 compliant learning/training objects, which are thus exchangeable with other learning initiatives. All ATLEC learning objects, training material and mobile applications will also be offered through the platform the ViPi project (KA3-ICT, 511792-LLP-1-2010-1-GR-KA3-KA3NW) aims to launch in 2012, and which is coordinated by PhoenixKM.

Training the end-users in appropriate usage of ICT-based AT means also teaching them new skills, digital competencies, learning to learn skills (key competencies), empowering them with a greater confidence, adaptability and a more positive attitude towards risk taking and access to an otherwise still to a large degree inaccessible physical, technological and attitudinal employment environment.

Apart from providing them the knowledge about AT ICT usage, and what is most appropriate for their specific disability, a mentoring scheme will be set up and ran in workplaces in Belgium and Greece, directly linking the knowledge and skills acquired with the practice, while also facing the reality in the working environment.

Last but not least the job profile of ICT AT trainer and the workplace mentoring scheme qualifying people with disabilities from unemployed, unqualified into qualified trainers will greatly increase their self-esteem, confidence and provide them with easier access to the regular labour market, as well as create new employment opportunities for the People with Disabilities communities. In the long term, this will lessen the social and economic burden.

“The EU needs to get more people with disabilities into jobs and include provisions on disability in more of its other policies,” says Parliament in a resolution, passed last week, on the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020.
“Over 80 million people, i.e. around 16% of the EU’s total population, are living with disabilities. The Europe 2020 Strategy target of 75% of the population aged 20-64 in Europe 2020 in employment cannot be achieved unless it includes people with some form of disability”, said Àdám Kósa ahead of the plenary vote.
The employment rate for people with disabilities is only around 45 % in the EU and this is one of the groups hardest hit by the financial crisis, says the resolution, which was passed by a show of hands.
Austerity measures must not become a pretext for unjustified cuts in services for persons with disabilities or in projects for their social inclusion, MEPs say.
The European Parliament stresses the need to reach a swift agreement on the proposal for a Council directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. This was approved with 362 votes in favour, 273 against and 23 abstentions.
It also calls on the European Commission to reinforce anti-discrimination and accessibility provisions in the EU’s cohesion policy plans for 2014-2020, public procurement reform proposals and to present a legislative proposal for a European Accessibility Act with strong and binding measures at EU level to improve access to goods and services for people with disabilities.
MEPs call on EU Member States and the European Commission to recognise sign language as an official language in the Member States. The rapporteur himself is deaf and is assisted by an interpreter using sign language during meetings.
Finally, the resolution calls on Member States and the Commission to swiftly ratify and implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). So far, the Convention has been ratified by 17 Member States.