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Employment of Disabled Persons in the EU

If you think that finding a job is a challenge, consider that the employment of disabled persons is even more challenging. Work is essential for all as it leads to individual autonomy, personal satisfaction, and active participation in social life. For this reason, the right to work is recognized as a human right while it has a special place in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

However, persons with disabilities are still in an inferior position compared to people without disabilities. Inevitably, this puts them at a greater risk of poverty and social exclusion. Thus, there is a need for a more collective effort, primarily in state legislation or civil society. This will ensure that disabled persons have access to equal pay, working conditions, job security, and the same work opportunities.

Challenges Faced by Disabled Persons

When it comes to the actual employment of disabled persons, their worries do not seem to cease to exist. Even though they have overcome the arguably biggest challenge of landing a job, problems continue to exist in the workplace. So, what are some of those challenges in the working place?

  • Coworkers often focus on someone’s disability rather than on his/her skills and value as an employee.
  • Disabled persons do not always get the necessary accommodations that they require to be productive and effective.
  • People with the same disability do not necessarily have the exact needs. Each individual copes differently with his/her disability, while others experience it on different levels.
  • Even if proper accommodations are provided for disabled persons, they often receive negative comments from their colleagues.
  • Employers and employees alike require sensitivity training to avoid disrespectful situations and a deeper understanding of disabilities and their actual limitations.

The Skills Plus+ Initiative

As mentioned earlier, the EU states need to address the challenges relating to the employment of disabled persons. There are several jobs that people with disabilities could do while guaranteeing equal pay and opportunities as people without disabilities. However, practically speaking, it looks like there is difficulty matching people with disabilities to suitable jobs, as their higher unemployment rates suggest.

The Skills Plus+ competition initiative is a result of the Erasmus+ project Paraskills. This initiative addresses people with physical or mental disabilities by focusing on their talents and skills rather than their incapabilities. This initiative aims to create a judgment-free environment where disabled persons can work individually or in teams and solve work-related problems while proving that they deserve a job. The competition took place nationally in the participating countries, and the national winners will compete in the European finals in the Netherlands in April 2021.

To learn more about the Skills Plus+ initiative, visit the official website of the competition.


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Vasilis Bouronikos
Content & Communication Manager

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