The continuously advancing technological landscape underscores the need to exploit digital tools and solutions in youth work. This necessity arises to enhance employment opportunities and inclusion for individuals with disabilities in the contemporary and competitive labor market.
Digitalization in youth work can play a crucial role in fostering digital inclusion, digital skills development and digital literacy for people with disabilities enhancing thus their employment prospects and providing them with the necessary tools to enter the labor market. In addition, according to the European Agency, personalized and self-paced learning opportunities are possible with the usage of digital learning tools, which contribute to the catering of the learning needs of people with disabilities (European Agency, 2017).
After the COVID-19 pandemic the acceptance of remote work is more apparent than ever. The usage of digital tools enables flexible work arrangements, creating new opportunities. Research findings highlight the positive impact of remote work on the employment and inclusion of people with disabilities (Eurofound, 2020).
Moreover, studies have shown that digital platforms and tools facilitate mentorship and networking opportunities for young people with disabilities and support them their employment prospects and career advancements (American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2015).
Another factor that contributes a great deal to the employability and consequently to the employability performance and independence of young people with disabilities is the adoption of adaptive and assistive technologies in a work environment by employers (Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 2017).
Finally, according to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs technology and digitalization in general play a significant role in the reduction of inequalities on the one hand and in the development of more inclusive and e-inclusive societies with financially independent young disabled people (UN DESA, 2018).
Research studies have recognized beyond doubt that the usage of technologies in youth work plays a key role in the advancement of the employability prospects of young people with disabilities as well as in fostering equal opportunities for all. Digitalization not only fosters inclusivity but also equips young disabled people with the necessary tools to adapt and prosper in todays’ demanding and competitive work environment.
The JOBS4ALL Project embraces the digitalization of youth work through the usage of e-tools such as the e-learning and communication platform to foster mentorship and networking and support young disabled people not to mention the Virtual Reality Game, which provides a set of job-related simulations for young disabled people to acquire employability skills related to the profile of specific job employees through a gamified way.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy. (2015). Online mentoring for youth with disabilities: A scoping review. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.014159
Eurofound. (2020). Living and working in Europe 2020. https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/publications/report/2020/living-and-working-in-europe-2020
European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. (2017). Digital education for students with disabilities. https://www.european-agency.org/resources/digital-education-students-disabilities
Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation. (2017). Workplace accommodations and job success for persons with spinal cord injuries. https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-vocational-rehabilitation/jvr160323
UN DESA. (2018). Disability and development report 2018 – Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals by, for, and with persons with disabilities. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/wp-content/uploads/sites/15/2018/12/Disability-and-Development-Report-2018-Full-report.pdf WHO. (2020). Strengthening rehabilitation in health systems. https://www.who.int/rehabilitation/rehabilitation-health-systems