A1 For Jobs
Across Europe disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as a non-disabled person which is reflected in the fact that in 1999, only 31% of adults with a disability were in paid employment in comparison with 68% of those without a disability. Many reasons account for this disproportionate ratio in economic activity least of all is the myth that disabled people are unable or are reluctant to work. A Disability Rights Task Force report (UK) highlighted that the 11% of all people in work that are disabled take less sick leave & have lower staff turnover than their non-disabled counterparts. Disabled people face many barriers to inclusion in training & labour market opportunities which they themselves identify as: fear of losing benefits, health issues, and lack of confidence, employer’s attitudes, transport /location & the concerns of their carers. This project aims to address these barriers to inclusion to allow them to take an active part in economic, social & cultural life by customising learning to suit specific learner’s needs by matching these to the needs of local labour markets. Project partners currently work with the disabled via the provision of training and support and find that there is little up to date vocational training & European research into this area. The partners consider that analysis into the training needs & methodologies of existing training provision to be a key area of development in order to promote inclusion of this target group.
The main reason that disabled people fail to access appropriate vocational training & consequently sustainable employment can be routed in the historically negative attitudes of employers. A universal culture has developed whereby in business it is considered that employing someone with a disability is more trouble than it’s worth. The partners consider that addressing society’s attitude towards disability an important factor within this project as it is thought that people are more disabled by these negative perceptions than any impairment the person may have. Successfully addressing this issue should have a positive consequence for industry across Europe whereby many employers highlight specific skills shortages within the current workforce which impede their ability to suitably fill current vacancies. Those with disabilities represent a significant untapped labour source with the ability to increase the productivity, effectiveness & growth of the European economy – 12% of the European populace have some form of physical or mental impairment. Although, not all of this group are able to work they can however make a valuable contribution to social & economic life.