Inclusive Community Forum

Employability

What ICF Has Achieved on its Path So Far

In September 2017, the ICF chose the employability of people with disabilities as the first theme to be addressed.

The following three semesters were dedicated to making the diagnosis and designing the best solutions for the problems at hand, implementing them alongside the community, and then systematizing and delivering them to community agents capable of scaling them, thus ensuring their continuity.

The employability of people with disabilities followed a five-step process each with its own timing:

  1. Diagnosis and ideation – one semester
  2. Implementation of pilot projects – one semester
  3. Systematization and ownership – one semester
  4. Counselling and validation – cross-disciplinary to the whole process
  5. Follow-up – ongoing

Inclusive Community Forum’s Process Graphic demonstrating the process adopted by the Inclusive Community Forum during the Employment theme. Composed by three initial phases, each during one semester – Diagnosis and Ideation, Pilot Project Implementation, and Systematization and Ownership – and a final Follow-Up phase, with an undetermined period. Throughout the time, there is a constant phase of Counselling and Validation.

After choosing the central theme, an objective diagnosis was made to identify the main obstacles to inclusion underlying the theme. The diagnosis was then leveraged in quantitative evaluation, interviews, and field analysis in order to obtain a broad and correct view of reality.

Based on the diagnosis, the ICF was able to identify the most frequently occurring obstacles to the inclusion of people with disabilities in the job market.

The three main obstacles encountered were:

  • In people with disabilities: Lack of willingness of some people with disabilities to enter the job market due to the lack of opportunities or issues related to the family environment (socioeconomic factors or lack of motivation for being employed).
  • In companies: Lack of awareness and predisposition on the part of the companies. In Portugal, most companies do not employ people with disabilities because they do not even consider this possibility. When asked if they would, some answer affirmatively even though they do not know how to proceed. Others have some reservations that prevent them from wanting to move forward.
  • In the market: Even if the two previous obstacles do not occur and people with disabilities show a willingness to work and companies in hiring, there still lacks a mechanism that guarantees the operationalization on the market by making demand and supply meet.

 

Parallel to the diagnostic work developed by the ICF team, a challenge was launched to the Nova SBE Master’s students on this topic. They were asked to analyze the context and, based on in, to outline solution proposals. Thirteen proposals were presented, of which the ICF chose three, as a basis for those it came to develop and test in pilot projects – Peer2Peer, HR4Inclusion, and Inclusive Future.

 

Peer2Peer

Peer2Peer arose from the need to combat one of the obstacles identified at the diagnostic stage – the lack of predisposition and preparation for the job market on the people with disabilities’ side, either due to the lack of opportunities or to issues related to the family environment.

The Peer2Peer pilot project took place between March and May 2018 in Cascais. It had the participation of ten Nova SBE students and ten people with disabilities who were selected by Private Social Solidarity Institutions (IPSS) of the Municipality of Cascais that wanted to enter the job market but had not yet had the initiative, confidence, or simply the opportunity to take this step.

Regarding the development of this pilot, it is important to highlight the involvement of Nova SBE's Career & Corporate Placement team, as the one responsible for developing the contents and facilitating the workshops' organization. Other Nova SBE community members, such as professors Clara Costa Duarte and Miguel Alves Martins who also played a key role in the program through their testimony in some of the sessions. Psychologist Edite Oliveira provided support to students who had been less in contact with this reality.

Other external partners also collaborated with the ICF, namely the Municipality of Cascais, the Portuguese Asperger's Syndrome Association (APSA), the Salvador Association, Cadin, CERCICA, the Novamente Association, SEMEAR and also three companies in the recruitment and selection area – Argo Partners, Mercer, and Randstad.

 

HR4Inclusion

HR4Inclusion arose from the need to fight one of the obstacles to employability identified at the diagnostic stage – the absence of a mechanism that makes this market work and ensures that supply and demand meet.

A centralized process in recruitment and selection companies, the know-how they possess, and their already established customer network allows for greater efficiency and opportunity of scale, thus increasing the employability of people with disabilities. Thus, rather than providing one-off responses to specific cases, a central point of reference for the meeting between people with disabilities who want to work and companies seeking to hire them is provided.

The pilot phase of HR4Inclusion lasted from June to November 2018. It included three recruitment and selection companies (Argo Partners, Mercer, and Randstad), which took on the pivotal role in the process, thirteen potential employers, and twenty candidates with disabilities - ten of whom had integrated the Peer2Peer pilot. The companies that accepted to be part of this pilot project were Accenture, Ageas, Bankinter, Brisa, Cascais City Hall, Gestmin, Jerónimo Martins, José de Mello Saúde, Millennium BCP, Nova SBE, Randstad, Santander, and Willis Towers Watson.

This pilot project resulted in the creation of an Inclusive Recruitment Process, which aims to capitalize on the know-how of recruitment and selection companies, ensuring an adequate match between the role available in the company and the capabilities and preferences of the candidate in question.

 

Inclusive Future

Inclusive Future arose from the need to raise awareness in the community, particularly in companies, of the possibility and added value of employing people with disabilities. By making success stories visible, Inclusive Future helps to deconstruct myths and gives confidence not only to job seekers, but also to those who are willing to hire.

The Inclusive Future pilot project was developed from the end of 2018 to the beginning of 2019, having launched ten successful cases of people with disabilities on the Design the Future platform – which has been around several years to inform people about many professions and thus helping young people with their vocational professional decisions – who were hired in different professional areas. These ten cases chosen were identified by the ICF community, namely by the Council of Families, the Council of Institutions, and Nova SBE students (students from the Nova Junior Consulting students club and the Communication, Leadership and Ethics course).

After completing the pilot projects, the ICF systematized their learnings to consolidate the proposed solutions and deliver them to the community.

 

Peer2Peer

For Peer2Peer, an implementation manual was developed, and the coordination of the project was handed over to the students of the Nova SBE, alongside Nova SBE’s Career & Corporate Placement team.

Thus, the second edition of Peer2Peer, at Nova SBE, took place from March to June 2019, under the coordination of Francisco Lamy and Margarida Vigário, both students and former participants of the Peer2Peer pilot. Presently, the program is already in its third edition, under the coordination of Leonor Neto Rebelo and Francisco Craveiro, two students who participated in the second edition and, like the previous coordinators, fell in love with the project.

 

HR4Inclusion

The lessons learned from HR4Inclusion allowed for the systematization of the Inclusive Recruitment Process while handing it over to two of the recruitment and selection companies that participated in the pilot: Argo Partners and Randstad. Thus, since March 2019 these two companies, and more recently also Michael Page, have officially taken on the inclusive recruitment process, being available to receive disabled candidates who want to work and companies who want to hire. To find out how to apply or how to recruit, please click here.

 

Inclusive Future

The videos produced during the Inclusive Future pilot project were made available on the Design the Future platform, where they can be accessed.

You can watch all videos here.

Throughout the development of the employability theme, counseling and validation were key to ensure that the emerging solution proposals were really based on concrete needs and real cases.

It was done in the Council of Families' sessions, the Council of Institutions, and the Executive Board, where the ICF presented the proposals that were being developed and collected feedback. Four sessions were held during this period for each of the Councils, which helped the ICF to define which pilot projects to develop – Peer2Peer, Inclusive Future, and HR4Inclusion – and the best way to move forward.

The follow-up phase started after closing the systematization and delivery phase.

This phase, still ongoing, consists of periodically monitoring the initiatives developed by the ICF during the implementation phase and delivered to the community during the next stage with the main objective of ensuring their sustainability.

sunset

What brings me to Peer2Peer is the possibility of being part of the change, fighting the lack of inclusion of people with disabilities in society, and making us all be recognized for our abilities.

Francisco Lamy
Peer2Peer

sunset

What brings me to Peer2Peer is the desire to learn from everyone's experience and make differences less limiting, making them a source of inspiration and achievement for an increasingly inclusive society.

Margarida Vigário
Peer2Peer

sunset

What brought me to HR4Inclusion is the ability to do something that adds value!
To be able to contribute in a way that makes a difference.

Tânia Brito
HR4Inclusion

sunset

What brought me to HR4Inclusion was my belief in the enormous potential of the most vulnerable people and the added value that they can bring to the community, giving everyone a voice and enabling them to develop their superpowers. All this through a pioneering project that guarantees equal opportunities in the job market for all people who are in a vulnerable situation through awareness-raising, training, and job integration.

Sónia Gonçalves
HR4Inclusion