by Kalli Rodopoulou, EELI

Presentation of projects of Rethymnon Association for Autistic People

This article offers an overview of the main changes that have occurred in Greek Employment policy for disabled people and presents the actions that the “Association of Parents, Guardians and Friends of people with Autism in Rethymno” is implementing for the employment promotion of people with disabilities in the labour market.

After systematic work, a National Action Plan for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was drafted, an initiative which is implemented for the first time in Greece (after the period 1974-1990) in accordance with United Nations guidelines, under the responsibility of the Minister of State as the Coordinating Mechanism under Article 69 of Law 4488/2017. Among other actions and strategies instituted by the National Action Plan, there is a clear reference to strategies aimed at the integration of people with disabilities in the labour market, vocational education and training.

Despite the new measures and strategies, recent research on the field shows that 14% of the Greek population (20-64 years old) are today people with disabilities, however we rarely meet them at work, in education and in social life. Even more worrying is the fact that the 60% of young people with disabilities in Greece, aged 25-29, are unemployed, recording one of the highest negative rates in Europe for the integration of people with disabilities in employment.

It seems that integration of disabled people in social life and employment still lies on the responsibility of associations, families and NGOs. A good practice example in our region for the promotion of disabled people in the labour market are the activities and projects that the “Association of Parents, Guardians and Friends of people with Autism in Rethymno” is running. Recently the Association implemented a project entitled “WORK FOR ALL”; this project lasted for 14 months and was aiming to contribute substantially to the social inclusion of people with disabilities by facilitating their access to work through the following actions:

  • Transfer of good practices for work integration from the OSLO MET Partner, University in Norway through material provision and training seminars implementation,
  • Development of guidelines for the training and empowering of educators and students,
  • Training and certification of disabled people in the provision of hotel services by the certified training provider “IIEK GRANT” in collaboration with an interdisciplinary team of professionals.
  • Internship for disabled people in hotels – restaurants.
  • Creation and operation of a Social Cooperative Enterprise – implementation of the supportive working model.
  • Dissemination and awareness raising activities to the general public through open events and through MEDIA.

At the present stage, the Association prepares actions and programs that concern:

  • Employer’s support and training programmes;
  • Employment centre for disabled persons;
  • Networking through good practice exchange with other countries;
  • Employment programmes (public, subsidized, European, etc.)

For more info please visit the website.

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