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Published November 15, 2017

How can people with disabilities obtain better jobs?

The Erikoisjoukko team of Ura-Avain helps those with disabilities find employment in the right companies. It improves the inclusion of people with disabilities, companies gain employees and society saves money.

Why do people with disabilities often have monotonous or manufacturing jobs that are not appealing, beneficial or developmental?

Marja Visti-Koskinen and her colleagues wanted to see people with disabilities being heard and their areas of interest taken seriously.

“What if more people with disabilities worked in companies and organisations in the same way as people without disabilities?” Marja Visti-Koskinen asks.

Her approach was also based on substantial research information on what types of activities increase the inclusion of people with disabilities in society.

The Ura-avain team believe that there is plenty of suitable work for people with disabilities, if you know where to look.

“It surely doesn’t increase it, if he or she is driven by taxi for years to a specific, separate location to work from nine to three and then he or she takes the taxi home,” Visti-Koskinen explains.

Ura-avain, which is participating in the Ratkaisu 100 competition, is a workshop model for people with disabilities that increases inclusion. The intention is to find work in real companies for those with disabilities, and a mentor is always with them at their workplace.

The mentors, which are referred to as “special forces” (Erikoisjoukko) in the model, seek out co-operation partners among companies. For firms, the model is risk-free, clear and easy, according to Visti-Koskinen. The special forces are responsible for the total package, responsibilities and the paperwork. They tailor the service together with the company and the only expense for the company is the price they agree to pay for the service. At the same time, the company is fulfilling its social responsibility.

“Some spend money on sports sponsorships, but that money can just as well be used for this. In return, you also get the knowledge of doing something good. The feedback from the business world has been positive,” says Visti-Koskinen.

It also saves public funding, because the work done by people with disabilities is more effective and their wages are paid by the company.

The Ura-avain team believe that there is plenty of suitable work for people with disabilities, if you know where to look. All of this results in making people with disabilities and diversity a visible part of society, says Visti-Koskinen. “People with disabilities need more options on how to advance on their personal career paths.”

Ura-avain

Idea in two minutes

What? Ura-avain, a workshop model that increases the inclusion of people with disabilities.

For whom? People with disabilities and companies that employ them.

What problem does it solve? The work performed by people with disabilities is rarely meaningful and the wages are poor.

How does it work? Tutors referred to as “special forces” run operations, find jobs and handle the bureaucracy and support those with disabilities at work.

What is new about it? “The greatest difference is that the model is easy and clear for both the person with disabilities and the company acquiring his or her work.”

Read more: Ura-avain is being developed by a team from Lyhty ry for the Ratkaisu 100 competition. Helsingin lyhytaikaiskoti and the workshop Lyhty ry are non-profit associations that provide a public service. Read more at lyhty.fi and follow on Twitter at #Erikoisjoukko.

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