About NOS Project:

According to OECD 2014, in the European Union, approximately 4 million jobs are needed to return to pre-crisis employment levels.

Europe 2020 objective requires that 75 % of the population aged 15-64 should be employed. At the EU level, about 47% of persons with disabilities are employed compared to 72% of persons without disabilities. The national employment rates of people with disabilities in 2011 in partners countries: Bulgaria – 30,70%, Poland – 33,90%, Spain – 44,30% and Italy – 45,60%. According a study of the WHO 2011 the employment of people with disabilities differs according to gender, similarly to trends in overall employment. The employment rate of women with disabilities in OECD countries is only 19.6%.

Supported Employment is one of the pillars of the European Union’s non-exclusionary policy and its Disability Strategy 2010-2020 aimed at eliminating barriers, preventing discrimination and empowering people with disabilities to enjoy fully their rights and participation in society on equal terms with others. Supported Employment is defined as a system that supports people with disabilities or other disadvantaged groups in obtaining and maintaining paid employment in the open labour market. Its evidence based practice is grounded on a value based approach combining both person- and employer-centered procedures and practices following a personalized process scheme that can be adapted based on the needs of the parties involved. Despite its prominence most Supported Employment providers still cannot count on certified training and further training programmes, which are focused toward pragmatic ways of tackling and navigating through the fast changing contexts of European labour markets and professional developments.

Despite the enactment of regulations and measures designed to raise the equality of people with intellectual difficulties, Bulgaria and Poland 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. There are no national Supported Employment programmes available in Italy. However, there are many initiatives that can be related to the definition of Supported Employment, aiming at increasing the possibility of disabled people to get a job in the open labour market. Spain – In total, there are between 200 and 300 Supported Employment providers; services are mainly provided by private service providers. The caseload of job coaches varies depending on the target group, from three (people with cerebral palsy, mental health problems, or intellectual disability) to 8-12 (physical or sensorial disabilities) or 15 for other target groups.

Supported Employment Specialists working in the partners institutions indicate the value of non-formal learning contexts as significantly more important for the development and acquisition of competencies than formal learning contexts. Within the non-formal learning contexts the value of one`s own occupational practice in the current field of practice was judged with the highest relevance, indicating the importance of a formative introduction of new practitioners in the field, in the sense of “learning by doing” or “reflective practice”.

Aim of NOS Project:

  1. broadening the knowledge about the socio-occupational functioning of people with disabilities,
  2. learning about the effective and proven method of professional activation of people with disabilities – supported employment,
  3. updating skills and qualifications of supported employment specialists (SES) in partner countries, exchange of best practices between SES,
  4. Expressing SES opinions on the functioning of the social-occupational activation system for people with disabilities in partner countries.

As a byproduct, the project will bring advantage not only to the world of VET, but, by focusing on a fundamental occupation, to person with disabilities inserted or willing to be inserted in VET.