22 SES 04 D, Learning and Employability
The right to work on equal terms, recognized worldwide – UN Convention, 2006; UN 2030 Agenda, 2015 – is enhanced as a strategic objective of the European Union policies addressed to the population with disability (European Disability Strategy 2010-2020).
Reaching higher qualifications improves job opportunities (ANED, 2017; Vedeler, Mossige, 2010); however, for people with disabilities, unemployment rates remain high at all levels of education. Even when employed, they tend to get more temporary and part-time jobs, which over-expose them to recurrent unemployment (Ebersold, Schmitt, Priestley,2011).Moreover,some factors (eg being a woman, highest age and psychological disabilities) adversely affect finding a job, eliciting a dual vulnerability (Boman, Kjellbergb, Danermark, Boman, 2015).
Despite the progressive growth of students with disabilities in the university, access to the labour market remains one of the main challenges for people with disabilities today (European Commission, 2017). A prolonged distancing from working world is also likely to result in a low quality of life and a poor sense of inclusion in society. To get a job takes on a particular importance in the development and growth of personal identity and social belonging, especially for persons with disability (Baker, Jacobs, 2003).
In higher education, studies show that short-term skills training programs and planning services can help students with disabilities in their efforts to link their accomplishments in postsecondary education with their future career goals and in considering how to incorporate their disability-related limitations in accommodation planning (Roessler, Hennessey, Hogan, Savickas, 2009; Flannery, Yovanoff, Benz, McGrath, Kato, 2008). However, at the same time, literature suggests supporting students in the transition is a complex issue for institutions and support efforts have not been successful in preparing people for a future work life (Lindqvist, 2007). It is necessary that Universities use a holistic approach around the student's skills and his/her family, the academic context, the disability and career services, the territory, in order to build an effective guidance process (Cabral, Mendes, de Anna, Ebersold, 2015). Moreover, research highlights a lack of links between universities and business world, as well as the need for a high-level orchestration of accessibility and support strategies to better drive students with disabilities to their professional success (Ebersold, Cabral, 2016). Similar results come from a survey by CENSIS (2016) conducted in 40 Italian universities, that highlight, among the most critical issues, the question of the transition to employment.
In general, existing research discussed the impact of some variables (such as demographic data, disability, etc.) to employment, however very few surveys focused specifically on identifying the academic factors that act as agents of significant improvement in the working life of these youth. In Italy, in particular, there are few data available in this area and it doesn’t exist punctual statistics about employed graduates with disabilities (Osservatorio nazionale sulla condizione delle persone con disabilità, 2016). Additional research is needed.
This survey, carried out in a University of Northern Italy (Turin), is aimed at identifying good practices and tools in order to qualifying the support offered to students with disabilities during their academic path and to promote the transition to work, in synergy with the local context. The survey wants to explore:
a) characteristics of the job offer (eg nature and duration of contracts, professional qualifications; consistency between employment and academic degree) for graduates with disabilities
b) factors inherent to the quality of the study plan and academic performance (eg regularity; grade-point average) and characteristics of learning experiences (eg reasonable accommodations; internships, services used) associated with employment success.
To answer the research questions, primary and secondary data were collected. Primary data were collected through semi-structured interviews with already employed graduates of University of Turin (No. 20), with different types of disability, recruited using convenience and purposive sampling strategies to achieve maximum variation. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. These data were analyzed using content analysis tools and subsequent recoding of the textual materials (Merriam, 2009). The secondary data, of administrative source, have been used to piece together the academic and professional careers of graduates with disabilities of University of Turin between 2012 and 2016 (No. 253). University of Turin and Ministry of Labour database were matched to bring out, through multivariate techniques, the working profiles in terms of: (1) transition duration between university and employment; (2) quality of the jobs (match/mis-match degree/employment; professional qualification of the first job; sector of main economic activity; most used forms of contracting; continuity and duration of contacts); (3) relationship between academic performance and employment opportunities. The quantitative and qualitative analysis was conducted with the help of some software (SPSS 24.0 and N-Vivo 11). The combination of qualitative and quantitative data allowed the construction of an interpretative model of "success".
The results of this research project offer a wide and detailed picture of the education and working condition of graduates with disabilities of the University. Moreover, the results can contribute to better understand a topic that has not yet been studied, that is the relationship between the quality of post-graduation inclusion in the labor market and the characteristics of the educational career of graduates, highlighting the variables (in primis academic factors) that may have influenced the chances of "success" and how these can affect job opportunities for graduates. More generally, the results of the research can favor: a) the qualification of the academic offer, in particular the setting of the study courses, the teaching practices, organizational and support services implemented by the University for students with disabilities; b) the re-focusing and qualification of professional guidance and transition processes, with a view to promoting a better inclusion into the working world of people with disabilities; c) systemic university-territory partnership actions, to promote job opportunities for undergraduates and graduates with disabilities and their next wider inclusion in the society.
ANED (2017). European comparative data on Europe 2020 & People with disabilities, http://www.disability-europe.net/theme/statistical-indicators Baker, N. A., Jacobs, K. (2003). The nature of working in the United States: an occupational therapy perspective. Work – A journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation, 20, 53–61. Boman, T., Kjellberg, A., Danermark, B., Boman, E. (2015). Employment opportunities for persons with different types of disability. ALTER-European Journal of Disability Research/Revue Européenne de Recherche sur le Handicap, 9(2), 116-129. Cabral, L.S.A., Mendes, E.G., de Anna, L., Ebersold, S. (2015). Academic and professional guidance for tertiary students with disabilities: Gathering best practices throughout European universities. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 48-59. CENSIS (2016). Accompagnare le università verso una più ampia integrazione degli studenti con disabilità e DSA. Il punto di vista di Delegati alla disabilità, Operatori dei servizi e Studenti, Roma. Ebersold, S., Cabral, L. (2016). Enseignement Supérieur, Orchestration de l’accessibilité et strategies d’accompagnement. Éducation et francophonie, 44(1), 134-153. Ebersold, S, Schmitt, M.J., Priestley, M. (2011). Inclusive education for young disabled people in europe: trends, issues and challenges, http://www.youthmetro.org/uploads/4/7/6/5/47654969/aned_2010_task_5_education_final_report.pdf European Commission (2017). Progress Report on the implementation of the European Disability Strategy (2010-2020), Brussels. Flannery, K.B., Yovanoff, P., Benz, M. R., Kato, M.M. (2008). Improving employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities through short-term postsecondary training. Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 31(1), 26-36. Lindqvist, R. (2007). Disabled people in the welfare state. Malmö: Gleerups. Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Osservatorio Nazionale sulla condizione delle persone con disabilità. (2016). Verso la piena uguaglianza e partecipazione delle persone con disabilità: un progetto di monitoraggio della condizione delle persone con disabilità, http://www.osservatoriodisabilita.it/images/conferenza_2016/gruppo8/Gruppo8_Report_indicatori.pdf Roessler, R.T., Hennessey, M.L., Hogan, E.M., Savickas, S. (2009). Career Assessment and Planning Strategies for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities. Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, 21(3), 126-137. Vedeler, J.S., Mossige, S. (2010). Pathways into the labour market for Norwegians with mobility disabilities. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 12(4), 257-271.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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