Supported Employment

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."

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Despite the enactment of regulations and measures designed to raise the equality of people with intellectual difficulties, Bulgaria still lacks effective and working programmes for supported employment and job brokerage services for disabled job seekers. Finding work is a major challenge, particularly for young people with intellectual difficulties. Social stigma is still pervasive and is the main reason for their isolation and the infringement of their basic human rights, including the right to work. In Bulgaria, people with intellectual difficulties are still perceived as being unable to lead a ‘normal’ life and of little use to society in general. The representatives of this group often spend their time on their own or within their immediate families, without any meaningful occupation, full-bodies social contacts or choice as regards the development of their potential.

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In 2014, the Day Care Centre held a series of trainings with experts from De Pasarel Bulgaria and De Pasarel Netherlands on Supported employment for people with intellectual difficulties. The Dutch experts familiarised the team members with the main elements, rules and requirements for this specific type of employment and the functions of job brokers. The profiles of clients who are willing to work and have a partial potential to develop their skills in this areas were reviewed. Attention was paid inter alia to communication with parents on how parents can support their children develop working skills and integrate in the labour market as they grow up. The Foundation and De Pasarel Bulgaria teamed up to hold two Master Classes for social services professionals dedicated to Communication with Parents and Supported Employment.

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The values and principles underlying supported employment are fully in line with the idea of being able to make independent decisions, social inclusion, protection of personal dignity and respect for other people.
In the context of supported employment these ideas can be further developed into guiding values and principles underlying all stages and activities performed. These are:

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Supported employment is a dynamic process driven by the individual needs of job seekers. A process comprising five stages, known as the European model of good practices, has been developed, which can be used as a framework for supported employment. During each of the five stages a vast array of activities—some of which designed solely for people with disabilities whilst others for all vulnerable groups—are carried out. Service providers must observe timeframes at all stages and during all activities as they are responsible for any time lost by their clients.

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