As flagged up in the 2020 report by the European Parliament, the employment rate for people with disabilities is significantly lower than that of non-disabled individuals, with only 50.6% of people with disabilities employed compared to 74.8% of non-disabled individuals. These statistics highlight the importance of projects such as the JOBS4ALL project, which aims to address the obstacles faced by Young People with Disabilities in finding employment by equipping them with the necessary digital skills and confidence.
Furthermore, given the COVID-19 pandemic aftermath, the need for modernisation and digital transformation is proving more than ever, to be essential to ensuring a swift recovery and adaptability while simultaneously promoting equal opportunities for all young people, especially the ones with disabilities.
To that end, JOBS4ALL project’s rationale supports the digital transformation and modernisation of the youth sector, thereby increasing its effectiveness and efficiency. The project’s main objectives revolve around the purposeful use of digital technologies in youth, the development of digital pedagogy, as well as the empowerment of digital confidence needed by Youth Workers/professionals & expertise in using digital tools.
Furthermore, JOBS4ALL pioneers the integration of emerging technologies such as serious games with the use of Virtual Reality (VR) equipment based on real-job scenarios in order to facilitate the Young People with Disabilities introduction into the labour market.
To ensure a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and gaps in digital-oriented programs for Young People with Disabilities, there are conducted focus groups not only with professionals who work with Young People with Disabilities but also with other stakeholders such as businesses and policy-makers.
In addition, the JOBS4ALL project endeavours to enhance the skills and expertise of Youth Workers, trainers, and educators who work with Young People with Disabilities. This will involve developing training techniques that enhance the current state of the art in training programs that are accessible to this vulnerable group of the population. By doing so, the JOBS4ALL project will create an enabling environment for improved methodologies and foster a more comprehensive community that promotes equal access and participation in the labor market, thereby encouraging personal growth and confidence.
The JOBS4ALL project is funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ program and is implemented by a consortium of partners from five European countries, comprised of universities, non-profit organizations, and research centres that have extensive experience in the field of youth work, namely: NCSR Demokritos (Greece), Emphasys Centre (Cyprus), APPDA Coimbra (Portugal), LCYouth (Cyprus), MetropolisNet (Germany), 2o EPAL Agias Paraskevis (Greece) and Zespół Szkół Specjalnych im. Janiny Porazińskiej w Ignacowie (Poland). In conclusion, JOBS4ALL proves to be a timely project whose results will be conducive to improving existing methodologies and establishing a broader community that fosters equal opportunities in the labour market. Considering the challenges discussed above, it is crucial to implement such proactive initiatives to enhance workplace inclusivity and accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Additionally, promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplace can have a positive impact on morale and productivity for all employees, while also supporting individuals with disabilities in achieving their full professional potential.