An engaged week
Europe and France take on the same challenge: inclusivity at work
One European in six has a disability
The employment sector for persons with disabilities in Europe is varied and took different directions over the years, according to variables such as the level of socio-economic development and the differing approaches to disability needs and requirements throughout the continent. There are 80 million persons with disabilities on the continent (source Eurostat – February 2013). That is more than one in six Europeans ! These citizens are often treated unequally as they encounter accessibility barriers that hamper their enjoyment of the services set up by public authorities. We do not only refer to accessibility for persons with reduced mobility, as it is often addressed, but also accessibility in the broadest sense: access to the school of choice, access to training, access to and retention of employment, access to culture, sport and urban accessibility.
The impact of the economic crisis
The economic crisis which has hit Europe since 2008 has led to the implementation of austerity measures which have impacted upon the lives of persons with disabilities throughout Europe. The already precarious situation of persons with disabilities before the onset of the recession has been even worsened, pushing back positive achievements developed until then. This state of affairs, which places persons with disabilities into a chronically excluded situation making it harder for them to access the labour market, demands collective action across sectors. Positive support measures in this sense are essential to unlock job potential and shift the focus away from the disability on to skills and competences. The improvement of employment and training opportunities for persons with disabilities is one of society’s key challenges which policy-makers have to tackle in the upcoming years.
The Europe 2020 goal of 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed by 2020 won’t be possible if we don’t include persons with disabilities.
The European Semester
The European Union has set up an annual round to coordinate economic policy, called the “European Semester”. Every year, the European Commission makes a detailed analysis of the plans for budgetary, macro-economic and structural reforms of the member states of the EU, and proposes recommendations for each country for the following 12 to 18 months. These recommendations also help towards realising the long-term strategic aims of the EU in favour of employment and growth – the Europe 2020 strategy – the monitoring and application of which are carried out within the framework of the European Semester. The theme for 2016 is inclusive employment. In this context, we saw our task as putting forward proposals centred around the four following themes:
- Expectations in terms of collaboration between the participants (companies, disability sector players, public authorities, legislators, etc.)
- Concrete initiatives that we will put forward to meet these expectations
- Proposals relating to the optimisation of legislation and the orientation of European and national funding to satisfy the development of inclusive strategies, such as supported employment
- Proposals aiming to stimulate research eventually leading to an improved analysis of the reasons for the unemployment of groups of disadvantaged people. The production of statistics in this area both nationally and throughout Europe
LADAPT has been asked to develop and draw up the French proposal.
Major French associations, such as FEGAPEI, Mutualité Française and UNAPEI are taking part in the entire process. We are also calling on companies, civil society and qualified individuals to contribute to the success of the work.
One week to get involved, campaigns all year round to take action
In order to fight these inequalities, LADAPT holds the European Disability Employment Week in the 3rd week of November every year.
It provides opportunities for jobseekers with disabilities and recruiters to make contact with each other. To this end, a whole range of tools has been developed: Jobdatings©, Handicafés©, disabled people’s employment forums, corporate operations, jobseekers applying on spec for vacancies within a pool of businesses … At the same time, activities for the general public also take place throughout the area (public spaces, schools, businesses, etc.).
LADAPT thus organises 140 actions on average every year throughout its territory, and actions are also organised by other associations, organisations, institutions and, increasingly, businesses.