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Sheltered workshops: new approach needed

Sheltered workshops: new approach needed

2013. 03. 27.

"As the presentations very well highlighted, sheltered workshops give such working opportunities to persons with disabilities, people with multiple disabilities in particular, which meet their specific needs. They also offer real possibilities for vocational rehabilitation, training and ad-hoc support in all fields of life. The EU should help realize the rights of persons with disabilities by promoting the development of a wider range of services, ensuring that every person receives the support needed to enjoy the right to work and employment. According to this more focused developments are needed for the sector in the light of the UN CRPD" – underlined MEP Kósa at the end of the conference.

MEP Koch said: "Of course the inclusion of people with disabilities into the mainstream labor market is the most important target of our society. But if due to the nature or severity of some disabilities it is not or not yet possible for persons to enter or to re-enter to the regular labor market, sheltered workshops provide excellent opportunities to offer participation in working life within the framework of vocational rehabilitation. As we've seen this concept works very well in my and some others EU countries so I hope that this example of good practice will make waves in the whole EU and abroad."

"Today about 3 million people with disabilities are working in sheltered employment in Europe. Therefore a not well considered implementation of labor law rights might lead to unemployment, poverty and more social exclusion for person with disabilities" outlined Franz Wolfmayr from EASPD. The solution is without any doubt a transition using "services tailored to the individual needs of persons with disabilities".

"For years, about 190 000 persons with severe disabilities have been registered as unemployed in Germany" as Stephan Hirsch, Secretary General at BAG: WfbM has revealed. Mr. Hirsch referred to the importance of the sheltered opportunities pointing out that these people "do not get employed or make the transition into employment in the first place and never cross threshold of a workshop for adapted work either."

László Csizmadia, president of ETA, the largest Hungarian NGO Alliance on employing mentally disabled people, emphasised that: "Today in Hungary any company can now apply for state supports for employing people with disabilities with certain and stronger conditions in terms of quality and rehabilitation-related outputs to be fulfilled for the sake of the people employed with their personal choices by a newly introduced and personalised rehabilitation card entitled to people themselves with legally fixed financial benefits for their employers in contrast to the long standing practice seen before 2011."

"Unapei association supports the further development of programs aimed at sheltered workshops to ensure the transition to the open labor market, in order to improve the rate of transition which is only 3% at the moment" explained Thierry Nouvel, General Director of the France based NGO. Furthermore, insofar as this rate not improves, Mr. Nouvel put: "Sustainable funding should be made available for programs to prepare and support mobility".