A range of different questions about work done in workshops for people with disabilities was discussed at the seminar: a day structure and planning, organization of vocational training, motivation for labour, primary diagnostics of clients and further monitoring of their successes, correct order of goals while working personally with clients and rational planning.
Also, issues of interpersonal communication, conflict situations in a group and organization of leisure-time activities were discussed.
A seminar “People with disabilities work. Structure, content and requirements” was carried out on June the 3d within the framework of the project “Accessible work”. 25 specialists participated in the seminar.
Specialists who organize labour activity for people with disabilities (heads and employees of enterprises, specialists from day stay departments, parents/members of NGO “BelAPDiiMI” from Minsk, Molodechno, Gomel, Baran, Polotsk and Volozhin and specialists from the Committee on labour, employment and social protection of the Minsk city executive committee) were among the participants of the seminar. Benjamin Braun, our German colleague who is a head of a working group in a workshop in Berlin, spoke in front of the public.
The participants of the seminar, especially specialists from territorial centres of social services to population were surprised by the approaches German partners use in work with young people with disabilities, by their methods and practical experience. For instance, work done by the specialists of the workshop (the non-governmental organization) is financed by the state and directly depends on a number of clients who attend the workshop. It means that the specialists are highly motivated and they try to attract clients by suggesting them different kinds of activities. Introduction of such a system in the Republic of Belarus would help to engage more people with disabilities in labour activities, because the state and enterprises would have a stimulus to open such workshops.
Besides, all the participants got interested in the topic of clients’ diagnostics and goal-setting. Every client together with the head of the group sets real goals which they try to reach during a year; together they work out different activities in order to reach the goals. Introduction of such a method would help our clients to develop in a better way, would help to prepare them in a more effective way to become members of free labour market.
The participants of the seminar were also surprised by the variety of activities done in workshops. Different orders of small-scale, medium-scale and large-scale business are made in such workshops in Germany. These orders are absolutely different – from production and wrapping of postcards to woodworking and furniture assembling, depending on capacities of a workshop. Money received from the orders fulfilled are allocated to salaries of workers with disabilities, it stimulates their activity and improves the quality of their life.
The participants of the seminar filled in a questionnaire at the end of the seminar. They mentioned that a one-day seven-hour seminar hadn’t been enough to study in details the progressive German practice of work of workshops, even though a colleague from Germany thoroughly explained the concept, conditions and experience of his many-years activity. Active work in groups and a great number of questions and discussions are a wonderful evidence of interest showed by the participants of the seminar.
Our specialists are interested in exchange and further dissemination of foreign experience. We saw that an idea of creation of social enterprises and rehabilitation labour workshops for people with disabilities is a very pressing one for the Republic of Belarus. The state is to prepare suggestions to expand the opportunities for employment of people with disabilities (including people with intellectual disabilities) and to assign the status of social enterprise till 2020.
The project “Accessible work” is being financed within the framework of the programme of the Protestant Development Service in Germany “Bread for the World”.