A worrying context for young Europeans with disabilities
In 2013, unemployment rates for those under 25 years old skyrocket in European countries: average for the Euro area: 23,9%.
This represents 6 million young Europeans registered as unemployed, plus 8 million who do not pursue studies or vocational training. These rates are proportionally higher concerning the young disabled persons. Data from the member states shows that they are much more exposed to unemployment with rates (with strong disparity among European countries) twice as high on average when compared with non-disabled persons! Concerning access to vocational training, the data is similar.
The European Union and States looking for solutions
Solutions to this scourge vary, in European countries, according to cultural, politic and legal
traditions : anti-discrimination legislation in the UK ; inclusion without legal obligations in
Northern Europe ; legal obligations in Germany, Belgium, Spain, France.
Europe promotes equal opportunity, as showed by the following strong initiatives:
• the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Nice, December 2000);
• the ratification by the European Union (December 23rd 2010) of the CRPD, the UN
Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN – 03.30.2007);
• the EU « Disability Strategy ».
Through these treaties, ratifications, strategies, Europe and the majority of its member states commit to promote equal opportunity for the persons with disabilities, to respect their inherent dignity, to apply non-discrimination, to encourage effective participation, to respect gender equality and children development. Therefore, since 2007, Europe favours securing career paths (flexi-curity), encouraging the member states to implement active employment politics, global lifelong vocational training strategies and modern social protection systems, bringing adaquate help during unemployment periods of time. Supported employment is a particular strategy aiming to help secure career paths for persons with disabilities, getting employed and staying employed.
Four partners for a common project
It is on these foundations that LADAPT, EASPD, Fundación Emplea and Scuola Viva Onlus met.
The four partners wished to share their abilities and qualifications through the Erasmus +
Each partner on its national territory commits to actively promote what is intended by the
UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Likewise, they strive to mobilize
political, institutional, associative and entrepreuneurial networks from civil society,
which are considered the main actors of change.
The DESC project : duration and modalities of action
The program spans over three years, from October 2014 to August 2017. It is rythmed each year by the promotion of events in the wake of the EDEW. Furthermore, the promoters will associate and train professionals and social workers so that they can become actors in securing career paths and promoting the EDEW.
The partners work according to several modalities :
• Transnational meetings are organized twice a year.
• Between each meeting, Skype working sessions are organized.
• The partners are all EASPD members. They meet several times a year in the context of
events promoted by the organization.
• Furthermore, dematerialized resources are used as much as needed.
All DESC partners are mobilized to bring their know-how and expertise. They all commit to
support one another in task achievements, communication and dissemination actions.
The program encourages a participative approach. Each member can implement concrete
actions in its territory. Also, all of them take action in European networks. All of this contributes
to the program's success.
Three work axes
First, the goals of the Erasmus + DESC program are to respect and promote expectations from the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). in particular the principle of inclusion concerning all aspects of life. But it is first and foremost about bringing attention on securing career paths, from school to professional integration.
In order to achieve this, three work axes have emerged:
Axis 1: Good European practices regarding the securing of career paths (SP) are identified and disseminated to social workers, a guidebook of good practices is then realized, and finally, in conjunction with axis 2, the construction of a training framework about SP implementation is decided.
Axis 2: Young European persons with disabilities have access to effective and adapted SP services. It means training European social workers, implementing SP services, experimentation from the project members on good SP practices identified in axis 1, evaluation of ongoing experimentation and capitalizing on effective strategies, and finally disseminating the results.
Axis 3: The EDEW : training of the project partners on implementing the European Disability Employment Week ; developing the relationships with the economic field and the business field by creating events in member states ; acting upon representations by European citizens about the persons with disabilities ; heighten awareness through institutional and mainstream communication, to «show and inform, to question and impact».
Constant working sessions
To reach these goals, several transnational meetings with the DESC partners have taken place and will continue to take place in the follwing months. These sessions give us the opportunity to work on programs and the development of activities, and to prepare the events linked to the EDEW and the dissemination of information.
• October 2014 – Paris
• March 2015 – Brussels
• September 2015 – Brussels
• March 2016 – Rome
• September 2016 – Rome
• Mach 2017 – Spain
• June 2017 – Paris