DISEMEX + EAST
In July 2019, INTAMT launched a new international project DISEMEX + EAST, which aims to promote the vocational integration of people with disabilities into the mainstream labour market. The geographical location of the project can be derived from the word EAST in the title. Our project partners come from Russia as well as from the countries participating in the EU’s Eastern Partnership Programme – Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The project is co-sponsored by the German Foreign Office within the framework of the programme for the development of cooperation with civil society in the EU Eastern Partnership countries and Russia and is a logical continuation and extension of the other project also coordinated by the Academy INTAMT – DISEMEX – “Best Practices for the employment of people with disabilities in European countries”, in which Bulgaria, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey are already involved.
Within the framework of the project, INTAMT developed and implemented a four-day seminar and event programme. Among other things, visits were planned to companies in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia that have already successfully implemented the integrative employment model. The organisers paid special attention to a barrier-free environment and to ensuring comfortable conditions of stay and participation for guests with disabilities at all planned events.
The introductory lecture by the Chairman of the INTAMT Academy, Professor Eduard Patrik, on the topic of social policy, protection and integration of people with disabilities in Germany enabled our project partners to get a first overview of the German social security system, to learn about its peculiarities, to familiarise themselves with modern procedures and trends, and in this way to prepare for further in-depth seminars and visits to various organisations.
As part of the programme, the guests visited an inclusion agency for labour and employment, a centre for vocational training for people with disabilities, as well as a company which, as an award winner in this field, is an excellent example of successful inclusion. Both the workshops organised by the INTAMT Academy in cooperation with the state authorities on the topics: Training and employment of persons with disabilities, the appropriate adaptation of workplaces, legal regulation as well as interaction with employers, as well as the visits to private companies and educational institutions offered the participants the opportunity to get to know the best examples of successful implementation of the professional inclusion of persons with disabilities using the example of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. During the subsequent visit to the international trade fair REHACARE in Düsseldorf, important thematic meetings took place with the representatives of organisations working in the field of inclusive employment. Here, too, our guests learned about innovative solutions and technologies for their implementation.
The highlight of the programme was the international conference “Together for inclusion” held on 19 September in the Congress Centre of the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre (CCD Süd), which was attended by more than 60 leaders and professionals from public organisations representing people with disabilities from 14 countries participating in the DISEMEX and DISEMEX +East projects on the one hand, and experts in the field of inclusion from the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, from inclusion agencies and leading German companies on the other.
During the conference, more than 20 presentations on the state of vocational inclusion were presented with the aim of analysing in detail the key issues for the employment of persons with disabilities, such as legal and regulatory aspects, vocational education and training, provision of the barrier-free environment and technical equipment for workplaces, as well as the specifics of the interaction between self-help groups and state and municipal authorities. The speakers also pointed out the problematic aspects – prejudices of employers, sometimes lack of motivation of applicants for employment. The special role of the family in the successful social integration of people with disabilities was also highlighted.
The programme ended with a farewell speech by Professor Eduard Patrik, Chairman of the INTAMT Academy. He thanked all participants for their important contribution to the development of professional inclusion and wished them success in achieving their goals.
The series of events in Germany allowed to significantly expand the circle of people directly involved in the project as well as to strengthen the networking between the inclusion organisations, which undoubtedly led to the optimisation of the knowledge transfer processes and thus enabled an even better transfer of those core competences that can be seen as fundamental for the successful implementation of successful models of inclusion.
By working with experts from countries with rich experience in the field of inclusive employment of their citizens, project participants were given the opportunity to acquire comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge. The organisers paid particular attention to the balance between theory and practice. In addition, the acquisition of new contacts will make it possible to combine efforts. This synergy effect should make it easier for the project participants to implement new inclusive experiences in their countries and to bring existing inclusion projects to a qualitatively higher level.
The positive feedback both during and after the events gives reason to believe that the programme opened up new perspectives in the field of inclusive employment of people with disabilities for our guests and equally provided new impulses for the development and deepening of cooperation in this field. Intensive international exchange on the latest examples of inclusive practices will certainly contribute to sustainability of the results produced – all with the aim of significantly improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities.
In the near future, the INTAMT Academy will organise a series of events in four other partner countries as part of the DISEMEX + EAST project:
– Kiev (Ukraine) 10 December
– Yekaterinburg (Russia) 12 December
– Yerevan (Armenia) 14 December
– Tbilisi (Georgia) 16 December
With the support of: