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Home Association ALTERNATIVA 2003 Professionalization of youth with mental disabilities: preparation, socialization, group programs and employment, at the Centre of Integration by the occupational therapy, ALTERNATIVA 2003, Bucharest (Romania)
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Association ALTERNATIVA 2003
  • Str. Fortunei nr. 51 Sector 1 Bucuresti / Bucarest Romania
  • Tel./Fax 021 – 668 20 27 Mobil 0722 777 333
  • Alternativa 2003

Professionalization of youth with mental disabilities: preparation, socialization, group programs and employment, at the Centre of Integration by the occupational therapy, ALTERNATIVA 2003, Bucharest (Romania)

  • Labour : Enterprise Integration
  • Europe : Romania
  • Experience Index Card

From Alternativa 2003 the Sep 16, 2013

From vocational training to the effective inclusion in employment, the association accompanies young adults in their active life course:

1. The association

The Association ALTERNATIVA 2003 has its seat in Bucharest (capital, Romania). Activities with young people with a mental disability in the context of the Integration Centre by the occupational therapy are performed in premises belonging to the association that have been received by a fund financing from Holland following a call to project success; These premises include 2 buildings. In one of these buildings have allocated 2 rooms in what we have created workshops.
The Association ALTERNATIVA 2003 developed 3 centers: a day centre, a Centre of Integration through occupational therapy and a d´ temporary accommodation centre.
In these centres, we develop activities with young people with old intellectual disabilities over 18 years with the aim to support them in their socio-professional integration. These young people have an intellectual disability with diagnosis of type autism, disorders of behavior, Down's syndrome [trisomy 21], delay mental.
The projects that we implement this year within the Integration Centre by the occupational therapy are: The transition to an independent life through centres of social inclusion and My chance for an active life.

The services developed by the association are: occupational therapy, education, temporary reception, counselling, professional coaching, preparation for independent living, the mediation to work, integration into employment.

2. The objective of the project

Objectives: The increase in the degree of social inclusion and quality of life of young people with a disability through the facilitation of their access to innovative social services, the exercise of their life and work skills, sensory and behavioural stimulation, the fight against marginalization, the involvement of parents and the guarantee of the sustainability of the interventions of social inclusion. In this project, we have developed with young people in activities with the aim to help develop capacity of research, access and maintenance in employment, and independent living capabilities.

The expectations of youth with disabilities concerning these projects are to learn how to prepare a CV, how to report against the employer, how to work as a team. Young people want to be independent financially and participate in of their household income, manage alone in life.
Their entourage, their parents and the community also have their expectations. The expectations of the parents are not always consistent with their child's potential. Most parents want their children to be independent. With regard to the community, we have considered the achievement of awareness campaigns of the community through the distribution of flyers and leaflets as well as the Organization of open days. Through these activities, we have sought to highlight the potential of persons with a disability and their desire to integrate into the society. Ourselves, as an association, want to socially integrate youth with disabilities than to demonstrate that people with disabilities represent a resource that has not yet been highlighted, and that people with a disability are faithful and serious employees who can perform a multitude of lucrative activities in the community.

The final objective of our project is the socio-professional integration of a maximum of youth with intellectual disabilities.

During the period of the project, we met some risks that we had to exceed, including:

  • 1 - Persons with a disability are subject to an emotional crisis due to the isolation in which they live - the impulse coming from we will go in the direction of increased self-confidence, of their mobilization to participate in activities generated through this project, and involve them in the community.
  • 2 - The population is reluctant to the needs of persons with a disability - the impulse will have to go in the direction of a change in the attitudes of the population;
  • 3 - Youth with disabilities carry a social stigma depending on the what they would not the ability or the desire for personal development - so our challenge will be to show through this project that they have dreams and wishes that they can achieve.
  • 4 - The trades they can achieve are few, which hinders more opportunities to compete for positions on the labour market; Now this project offers them the opportunity to develop skills that will allow them to access jobs and to remain in these positions. The challenge for our project is that we prove that there are also serious organizations which deal precisely with the employment of young people with a disability.
  • 5 - Persons with a disability have themselves reduced and do not have confidence in their own abilities. This is why there is the possibility that they reach in a longer time than expected. But the project, through the offer of specialized services team, will create a balance between the potential of each individual, the possibilities of obtaining a qualification and demand on the labour market.
  • 6 - Abilities that young people can acquire accumulate over the time and with patience, but the trades in which young people wish to qualify may not correspond to the needs of the labour market or the potential of the beneficiary. Then the team of the project, the necessary training to the insertion on the labour market, aspirations and capabilities of beneficiaries will have to be discussed with the trainers to choose vocational courses that meet the needs of the market of the local workforce (through the analysis of local needs).

3 Implementation and progress of the project

The professionalisation of youth project began in 2006. Since then, we have each year developed activities that have increased the ability of young people to acquire capabilities to an independent life and to integrate in the labour market.
Achieving the objectives of the project, we have followed the following steps:
-We evaluated the skills and the difficulties of young people
-We have learned:
o prepare a CV;
o to stand facing the employer
o looking for a workstation
-We entered into partnerships with companies willing to employ people with a disability
-We accompanied young people to their interviews
-We have developed professional training: florist and Decorator, operator of computer data entry, ceramic Potter
-We provided positions for young people
-We accompanied the young people in their activities at the workplace [tutoring].

Today, this centre operates through two projects: The transition to an independent life through centres of social inclusion and My chance for an active life. Preparation for the youth employment is a long-term process that requires our therapies and specialized interventions.


4 Resources

Human resources:
-Staff involved: 1 project coordinator, 1 project assistant, 1 Finance Officer, 1 Professional Advisor, 1 occupational therapist, 1 social worker, 1 psychologist
-Volunteers: 3 volunteers from the Faculty of psychology and the Faculty of social assistance.
-Partners: Directorate of Social Assistance and the Child Protection sector 1, municipal employment agency of the hand of Œuvre.
Financial resources: Each year we got 3 project financing that helped us to continue the activities with young people.
Technical and material resources: We have psychological tests, tests of revelation/discovery of the capabilities and the difficulties of young people, vocational guidance tests; We applied questionnaires for the evaluation of youth, we used the technique of the interview and that of the group discussion, the simulation of maintenance support, sharing other experiences of insertion in the job, on the difficults and lessons learned.


5. The evaluation of these programs today

We have always achieved the objectives of individual projects, and the fact that we have completed our projects has helped us to win the confidence of major companies, organisations landlord of funds and State institutions that support our activities.
Immediate results with this project:
-The increase in the number of beneficiaries from 29 to 56 people;
-at least 10 persons employed;
-at least 7 enterprises contacted for the establishment of partnerships and their involvement in this project;
-at least 5 partnerships signed to this effect;
-at least 56 recipients of support to preparation for employment services;
-56 persons with disabilities will be informed in language easy to understand, employment supported;
-45 youth participants in vocational training;
-at least 42 youth trained and having obtained their certificate;
-the promotion of the image of the association through mediatisations addressed to directors of companies to publicize the objectives achieved in our workshops and with partners;
-the paradigm shift of reference among persons with a disability;
-1 report of analysis on the structure of the market of jobs available for people with a disability;
-2 centres of social integration;
-3 training course developed.
Long term outcomes: the growth of the employment rate among people with disabilities; the improvement of the living conditions of persons with disabilities; the increase in the degree of involvement of the local authorities and the community in the identification of needs for insertion in employment of persons with disabilities and in the identification of solutions to that effect; the construction of a positive image of people with disabilities in the context of Romanian society, based on capabilities and human added value.

The difficulties we have been facing:
-The reluctance of employers regarding the employment of young people with an intellectual disability
-The expectations of young people and incompatible parents with the potential of youth
-L' reduced self esteem of young people
-The lack of trades that can be exercised by young people
-Lack of knowledge of the legislation and facilities for persons with a disability on the part of employers.
Therefore legislative negligence, emerged a series of 'parasitic protected units', which divert the funds of the State budget and make unfair competition to protected units or social enterprises that actually engage people with a disability. The funds which should be paid as fine on the part of companies or public institutions in accordance with law 448/2006 are no longer used for the employment of people with disabilities, but end up in the pocket of immoral opportunists.

Lessons learned:
In the future, law 448/2006 on the protection and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities should be amended to stop the creation of parasites protected units.

The program was developed by the Association ALTERNATIVA 2003 may be reproduced if are fulfilled the conditions of a team well developed with specialists that cover all the steps of preparation for employment, research and obtaining of workstations, and the inclusion in the employment of young people with a disability. Similarly, research and financial resources is very important. Finally, last point but not the least, the realization of partnerships to reach the proposed objectives.

Advice to members of Handiplanet organizations wishing to reproduce this action are to form a team similar to ours, and partnerships with important State institutions for the employment of young people, with companies seeking to employ young people with disabilities, so as to find ongoing funding resources.

Canonical language : French
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