On 23-24 September 2018, partners from Spain, Hungary, Greece and Belgium travelled to Lisbon to attend the first meeting of the IVEA project, bringing together representatives from university and autism associations. The objective of this project is to develop courses addressed to autistic people and a range of employers as well as a new European Guide to foster adequate training in order to contribute to the successful employment of people on the autism spectrum.
People on the autism spectrum usually struggle to gain and maintain employment for a variety of reasons, including obstacles in relation to the lack of accessibility of the recruitment process, lack of reasonable accommodation in the work place to respond to their communication and social interaction difficulties, or sensory issues. Unemployment of autistic people also stems from a lack of opportunities to access vocational training.
Thus, the Innovative Vocational Education for Autism (IVEA) project (running from October 2018 to March 2021 and funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus + Programme) aims at developing partnerships with employers to foster vocational education and training (VET) opportunities for autistic people, in close cooperation with people on the autism spectrum themselves. In the framework of the project, specific courses will be developed and tested with people on the autism spectrum and employers. It will result in the publication of a European guide and online tools. They will feature transversal competences that should be introduced to complement the academic curricula, including social and daily life skills to foster independence.
The kick-off meeting, hosted by the Federação Portuguesa de Autismo (FPDA) and attended by 16 people aimed to share understanding of the purpose of the project as well as to ensure the project’s viability and success.
Different issues such as the initiative’s main objectives, the modalities of the programme development, dissemination and coordination aspects were addressed during this two-day meeting. At this initial stage, partners are undertaking a literature review to identify best practices in relation to employment and transversal competences.
IVEA partners will meet again on April 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. The project foresees five transnational meetings over its more than three-years lifespan.