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Pleading for a “fair employment” initiative: 12 success factors for Supported Employment

Supported Employment partners identified success factors for supported employment at the German project meeting April 16 – 17, 2015 in Speyer together with German experts and practitioners of the employment agency and education providers. Their main finding: communication with employers and their staff is of crucial relevance:
 
  1. establish good communication and trustful relationships with employers, because communication and information are a big part of awareness raising and a good investment
  2. qualify employers for supported employment: encourage them, who are often too much afraid (“can never get rid of a disabled person”, “too much time on sick leave”)
  3. discuss with employers obvious questions like: “Can I afford a disabled person?” What are the additional costs? What do more holidays mean for my other staff?
  4. small qualification measures for employers and their staff should be part of the preparation “to translate” expectations and possible challenges
  5. communicate with staff because many people are afraid of disabled persons as they do not know them in their everyday work
  6. identify and communicate which kind of work can be done by disabled persons and refrain from possible obstacles, which might impair a successful implementation
  7. communicate advantages: refer to the positive aspects of social inclusion for a company, consider a different use of language (“what does “disabled” mean exactly?), show good examples,  
  8. transfer the “fair trade” concept to a “fair employment” initiative and make “social companies” with a “social work environments” a topic; create sympathy for the topic
  9. consider that most successful examples are from small companies, which have strong personal relationships for their staff
  10. start with measures to avoid supported employment early in schools (already with the 12 year olds) 
  11. collect knowledge, networks, expertise, and foster cooperation between  employment agencies, schools and education provider
  12. be aware that inclusion is still a new process in our societies