Supported employment is strongly focused on possibilities through assistance provided to individuals depending on their specific needs and holding consultations with employers

According to the European Union definition supported employment is:
„Providing support and assistance to people with disabilities or other vulnerable groups so as to enable them to retain their jobs on the open labour market."

The concept of supported employment first emerged and was developed in the US and Canada during the 1980s and 1990s. Whilst at the beginning the goal was to assist people with intellectual difficulties to find integrated jobs, it later evolved into a way of supporting other groups that traditionally encounter difficulties in finding and retaining jobs.

This is how the idea of coaching emerged. Coaching aims to offer structured support to a disabled person with a view to enabling him/her to receive a non-specialist job. Such support may include training to do specific work, social skills training, assisted commuting to/from work and any other assistance necessary to ensure that the recruitment is a success both for the employer and for the disabled employee. The coaching models offers significantly more than mere rehabilitation practices because coaching specialists offer support during the process of adaptation and on-the-job training.

Today, the supported employment model is widely recognised and applied in social work as a tool for support of persons with various disabilities—physical, sensory, mental and intellectual, including people with autistic spectrum disorders. Supported employment ensures job mentoring, professional development, transport and assisting technologies, specialist on-the-job training and individual progress supervision.

Key underlying principle of subsidized employment:
"Support – not more than necessary, not less than needed"

Job brokerage for people with disabilities is defined as:
Activities based on providing assistance to persons with disabilities seeking desired and appropriate employment and of institutions (organisations) seeking to find a suitable worker for a posted vacancy.

The goal of job brokerage for people with disabilities is:

  • providing support and assistance to disabled job seekers in order to find and retain a suitable job;
  • providing support and assistance during the initial stages of professional adaptation.

Job brokerage for people with disabilities is primarily available from specially trained social workers called job brokers. This group of professionals provides social services that differ in terms of type, frequency and volume to disabled job seekers during the process of finding suitable employment, including providing assistance during the stage of workplace adaptation, learning to perform the required professional tasks and assisting employers to ensure the smooth and fast acceptance of the disabled worker in the new environment.

Related article: The supported employment and job brokerage models in Bulgaria

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