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Tag: Employability

People with learning difficulties or memory problems face barriers in the working environment because they need extra supervision and reminders. New environments, unfamiliar equipment and changing tasks can be especially challenging and may led to frustration, reluctance to use new technologies and dependency on others.

VirtuAssist logo

VirtuAssist logo

To mitigate these difficulties, ILUNION – Accesibility, Studies and Projects (a software technology and consultancy company belonging to the business corporation of ONCE Foundation) led the proof-of-concept VirtuAssist. It was sponsored by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and InnovateUK. It was part of the ‘Good to Go’ competition of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) managed by Jisc TechDis, a leading UK advisory service on technologies for inclusion. This competition is about increasing independence in unfamiliar or challenging environments by giving people easy access to the information they need when they need it.

VirtuAssist aims to improve the quality of life and professional opportunities for people with disabilities (especially users with learning and / or memory problems), by improving their skills, confidence and independence in the workplace or training for employment when they are doing changing tasks or when they have to interact with complex or unfamiliar equipment.

First announcement ENTELIS SEMINAR: Supporting the development of digital skills of persons with disabilities of all ages - Policies, strategies and tools
26-27 November 2014 – Bologna Italy

The digital divide is a fact. Many people with disabilities do not participate, or experience difficulties in fully participating, in the digital society. There are many factors that contribute to this situation, ranging from environmental factors (physical and cultural barriers) to person-related factors, such as lack of training or unfamiliarity with technology. The ENTELIS network aims to reduce the digital divide by fostering exchange of information and good practice, by networking all relevant stakeholders and by contributing to policy development. The seminar will address the entire range of factors within a holistic perspective. However, in investigating possible solutions, it will particularly focus on person-related factors: it will explore how actions and measures aimed at the person’s empowerment and digital skills development can improve participation and freedom of choice in the digital society.

The pre-Seminar event (Wednesday 26 afternoon) will be targeted to the public-at-large, including policy-makers, journalists, non-governmental organisations, self-advocacy groups. Participation is free of charge. Registration is encouraged.

The Seminar (Thursday 27, full day) will be mainly targeted to education and rehabilitation professionals, service providers, researchers and experts in information technology and assistive technology. It will include keynote speeches, selected contributions from the participants and parallel working groups. It will be organised in such a way to promote the maximum amount of information exchange, reciprocal learning, networking and project incubation.

Fee: 150 Euro. Free of charge for ENTELIS partners and for members of AAATE, EASPD and EVBB. Registration is required.

Call for presentations (abstracts), programme and registration information: www.entelis.net

The seminar is held in the framework of the thematic event: (Assistive) technology as a Human Rights Enabler Bologna 26-29 November 2014

Open call for contributions to the ENTELIS seminar programme (pdf)

The objectives of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy cannot be attained without the active involvement of disabled people, ie some 80 million individuals (16% of the population). Such is the European Parliament’s message in a non-legislative resolution on the mobility and inclusion of disabled persons and the 2010-2020 strategy in favour of disabled persons, adopted on 25 October.

According to the latest statistics, the drop-out rate in education and the unemployment rate of disabled persons is at least twice as high as the rate of able persons and the poverty rate among disabled persons is 70% higher than the average rate. To address this situation, MEPs call on member states and the European Commission to take concrete measures in terms of mobility and social inclusion. They state that a “welcome development” in terms of free movement of persons and barrier-free services would be the introduction of a unified European mobility card for reciprocal recognition of care for people with disabilities. This would allow disabled persons to study, work and travel more freely.

MEPs stress the enormous importance of employment on the ordinary labour market for disabled persons and call on the Commission and the governments of member states to adopt legal and financial measures which truly encourage the employment of disabled persons. Lastly, MEPs encourage the creation of special forms of leave so that parents can take care of their children with disabilities and urge that the commitment shown and the work performed by parents of children with disabilities should be recognised by being counted as professional experience and by being specifically taken into account when old-age pension entitlements are calculated.

This non-legislative resolution, drafted by the chamber’s only deaf MEP, Ádám Kósa (EPP, Hungary), follows from the EU’s 2010-2020 strategy on disability. Adopted in late 2010, this Commission communication provides a framework for European action and includes measures that can be taken at a national level in order to implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. While MEPs welcome this initiative, they regret that the Commission’s communication does not include an integrated gender perspective or a separate chapter on gender-specific disability policies. MEPs recall that the Commission pledged to present a legislative proposal for a European Accessibility Act, and stress the need for strong, binding measures at EU level, with a clear road map. MEPs also call for the adoption of the necessary measures to help the visually impaired to carry out business transactions.
Source: Europolitics

The purpose of this study (Analysis of e-Inclusion impact resulting from advanced R&D based on economic modelling in relation to innovation capacity, capital formation, productivity, and empowerment) is to assess how investments in inclusive information society technologies and services have the potential to deliver sustainable and cohesive growth.
In order to achieve this objective, the study will look at, and improve on, existing macro-economic models and datasets to capture the impact of inclusive ICT on employability, productivity growth and human capital as factors of economic growth.
The study will also assess –within current e-Inclusion policies- which implementation measures have the potential to best deliver economic growth and social cohesion. It will also examine the associated costs for pursuing investments for e-Inclusion at EU and national level and assess their macro-economic outcomes.
The study will be completed in the first half of 2010.
The first report presents a brief summary of the first part of the research (completed by December 2009) which was dedicated to provide a quantitative evaluation of the e-Inclusion in Europe. In order to define and measure e-Inclusion, the study moves beyond the traditional distinction between “haves” and “have-nots” in terms of access only and proposes a multi-focal approach to this complex concept in continual evolution. More specifically, it adopts a multi-perspective (households/individual and enterprises) and multi-dimensional approach (access, usage, impact of quality of life). Throughout this approach, the research is expected to provide a quantitative evaluation, indicators and a dataset to monitor e-Inclusion for all 27 EU Member States.
Download the first report.

In 2008 about 4000 hearing- impaired people lived in Belgrade, Serbia. Research showed that at least 70% of all disabled people were unemployed or had a very poor standard of living. In order to improve this situation, the International Aid Network (IAN) in partnership with the Serbian Association of Deaf and Hard of Hearing launched the project, “Professional Empowerment for Deaf and Hearing-Impaired People”, in June 2008. This project has given 24 hearing impaired people the opportunity to improve their chances at finding employment and also to enhance their current careers. An educational programme, financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and Microsoft Serbia, was carried out in the IAN computer school in Belgrade, and consisted of 296 classes. Each class was conducted with the help of sign language interpreters and students were taught how to implement and successfully utilize many different skills to empower them in the workplace. Students obtained the internationally recognised ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence) certificate as part of their intensive IT skills courses. Three top students have even become ECDL testers while participating in the project. In addition, students became further empowered in how to write better CVs, and acquired the necessary tools to find jobs via the Internet. By combining these two elements, IT and professional skills, the project has succeeded with this group of students and has set a precedent for more disabled groups to become actively involved in professional life.
Source: http://www.epractice.eu/en/cases/empoweringdeaf

The European Platform for Rehabilitation Public Affairs Event has this year as theme “Empowerment of People with Disabilities” . During this event, the EPR aims to facilitate discussions among key European stakeholders about the impact of empowerment on both people with disabilities and service providers, and to discuss how to measure and benchmark it at a European level. The event will culminate in the awarding ceremony of the European Quality in Social Services (EQUASS) during which quality will be addressed as fundamental condition to ensure empowerment. The seminar will take place in Brussels in the afternoon of 10 December at the Marriott Hotel, Rue Auguste Orts 3-7. The event will be followed by a cocktail at which EPR members, other European sectoral stakeholders and policy makers will have the opportunity for informal discussions and networking.
Please download here the programme of the event as well as the registration form.