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Key issues and models of good practice in assisting people with learning disabilities to gain employment in mainstream companies

This piece of research aimed to explore patterns of good practice in developing paths to employment in mainstream companies for people with primary learning disabilities. The purpose of the study was to contribute to the production of a guide on tested paths of good practice and the identification of a framework of key issues and models utilisable as a basis for further studies. The study also explored employment policies for people with disabilities and provided some general statistics on employment provider agencies.
The investigation of good practices was conducted through an analysis of process and context variables, and outcomes of four employment provider agencies located in the EU. These agencies, which operate a ‘place then train’ approach, were selected taking into account the advice of a panel of European experts. Data were obtained through the collection of written documentation and through open-ended interviews (face to face) with the managers and collaborators of the agencies.
General findings revealed three different models of employment practice. The distinctive characteristics between models included the varied sequences of training and actual employment, the duration of client training, and the level of client support provided. While two of these models included key elements typical of the American Supported Employment approach, one model was independent. In addition, results indicated that, although the concept of employment practices implies a ‘human rights oriented’ approach, all the agencies studied were characterised by a number of ‘care/welfare oriented’ elements. The study concluded with an outline of some critical issues and recommendations with regard to both good practices and national/European employment policies.

Mostra/Nascondi contenuto.
8    Many Human rights declarations, as well as national legislation, have stated that discrimination against people with disabilities is unacceptable, and it is in many cases illegal1. Despite this, anti-discriminatory principles have not yet been fully implemented throughout Europe in many areas of social life in general and in the employment field in particular. There is therefore a need to investigate the reasons for non-compliance. In the final recommendations of the European Foundation s (1998) recently published book on positive individual experiences of employees with disabilities stress was put on the important role played by mediating organisations in improving the chances of employment for people with disabilities. The innovation introduced by these organisations consists in their strategy based on the approach place, then train . People with disabilities seeking jobs are first placed in mainstream companies, then trained in situ, whereas the traditional approach was based on the reverse principle of first training, then placing clients in open employment. According to Gottwald and Pendyck (1997) the latter procedure was not effective since, while a person with learning disabilities may be able to learn a series of tasks, often he/she is not then able to transfer them successfully to other settings. The present study aims to explore how four mediator organisations manage the process of job-matching for people with disabilities with the place, then train approach. The research focused on clients whose primary disability was general learning disability. Psychiatric illness, sensorial or physical disabilities could be present but as a secondary condition only. This restriction should not itself prevent research results applying to groups of people with other kinds of disadvantage. However the distinction is necessary because different kinds of impairment give rise to different needs and lead to different ranges of job opportunities. For example, a person with a physical impairment, but full intellectual and sensorial resources, can reach higher educational levels and hence have access to different job opportunities than a person with general learning disabilities. Sensorial impairment does not prevent a person working, if workplace adjustments are made. Mobility is not always a problem and it requires different adjustments from those needed for the previous category of impairment. People with mental illness do not have mobility problems and they can often perform complex tasks, but they may face temporary crises resulting in neglected work commitment. On the contrary people with learning disabilities are more reliable in their commitment, mobility in work is not a problem for them, but they may have more difficulties in performing complex tasks and in being flexible (Breda & Rago, 1991). To attempt to bring together all the types of impairment in a single research design would have made the study too complex and the results too general with the risk of ambiguity. The choice of intellectual impairment as the subject of this study is based on the personal interest and professional experience of the author. 1 Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded People, approved by United Nations in 1971; Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Person approved by United Nations in 1975; Americans with Disability Act in1990; Italian Constitution in 1948; Spanish Constitution in 1978; German Constitution as integrated in 1994; Disability Discrimination Act in U.K., in 1995.

Tesi di Laurea

Facoltà: Estera

Autore: Alberto Migliore Contatta »

Composta da 238 pagine.


Questa tesi ha raggiunto 451 click dal 20/03/2004.


Consultata integralmente una volta.

Disponibile in PDF, la consultazione è esclusivamente in formato digitale.