There are eternal truths. One of them is “The human being wants to belong to someone.” The yearning of people with disabilities for belonging to someone cannot be put into words.
Therefore, inclusion is a key task of our time that gets more and more important due to the challenges the European community needs to face and due to the demographic change all Europe is affected by. However, inclusion does not succeed by itself; it can also not be ordered top-down. Only an entire systematic approach in inclusion policy makes it possible to promote the potential of people with different disabilities in a targeted way and to strengthen the social cohesion in Europe this way.
For this reason, it is at first about developing a common understanding of inclusion, about decreasing prejudices, about sensitising for solidarity and about making it clear that our living together is enriched and more human by tolerance, openness and cultural diversity. However, this should be followed by actions enabling people with disabilities to actively participate in social life. “Compass Inclusive!” wants to contribute to that concretely.
Persons with disabilities are the most concerned or threatened by unemployment in all European countries. Even in the partner countries, where in the last years enormous efforts have been undertaken in the frame of inclusion of persons with disabilities in the labour market and immense funding has been invested, most of the integration tries lead in protected workshops.
Employment of the target groups at the first labour market is still an exception from the rule; many entrepreneurs or employers prefer to pay the legal compensation or to buy products from protected workshops instead of establishing work placements accessible for people with disabilities.
And all this happens, although enterprises with a certain number of employees in all partner countries are obliged by law to provide work placements for people with disabilities, although the state finances partly the staff costs and social service fees and although the enterprise can claim tax reductions.
We are far away from the objectives of the European Strategy for the benefit of people with disabilities 2010 – 2020, e.g. the promotion of inclusive education and lifelong learning for pupils and students with disabilities, equal access to high-quality education and lifelong learning in order to improve their unlimited participation in social life and of their life quality as well as extension of the participation of people with disabilities in the labour market on which they are underrepresented right now. This is proven by valid figures: in the EU average, 10 per cent of people without disabilities are unemployed. Compared to that, 17 per cent of people with disabilities are unemployed (Source: European Disability Forum).
In the partner countries of the project, the unemployment rate of people with disabilities is in average twice as high as the rate of people without disabilities (Sources: State Offices for Statistics).
Through the implementation of “Compass Inclusive!” by partners from Slovakia, France, Germany and Hungary, the French Model of Competence Balance shall be utilised for the promotion of professional orientation, career planning and the increasing of the employability of people with disabilities and build up the pre-conditions for its sustainable use.