ProjektRouter – Networking for inclusive qualification and employment
Topic: Integrating people with disabilities into the labour market
Service: Integrating people with disabilities into the labour market
ProjektRouter is a German company that started in 2004. The company structure develops around two pillars: ProjektRouter e.V. and ProjektRouter gGmbH. The latter entity is a non-profit limited liability company under private law. It is an integration company and the economic platform of a whole range of services offered for the employment of people with disabilities.
ProjektRouter addresses all people with disabilities, with a special attention to young people with severe learning disabilities.
Learning disabilities are not necessarily the result of an intellectual disability, but are due to average or above-average difficulties in thinking and / or reasoning, problems in acquiring certain skills such as language, writing, reading, numerical and logical skills.
The success of ProjektRouter‘s action lies in the fact that it has also developed its commitment to partner companies, clients of its services; these (usually regional SMEs) have clearly identified their needs for this cooperation. These needs revolve around the search for reliable employees for recurring tasks or jobs that require trained personnel in order to deliver high quality.
At ProjektRouter, the aim is to develop multifaceted inclusive services so that access to employment for people with disabilities becomes standard practice in German society.
In partnership with interested commercial companies, an approach of qualification and adaptation of a customised workplace is carried out, on the spot, in the commercial company. The approach is „placement, and then qualification“, and not the other way round. This offers the concerned people with a sustainable entry into labour market. ProjektRouter acts on the development of adequate skills and attitudes of the employee with disabilities and the needs of the employer. The latter is fully involved in the process of employment of the disabled person with ProjektRouter: individual and / or group coaching sessions are organised at the workplace and in training room. The skills and abilities of the employee are analysed and a systematic accompaniment takes place in order to “match“ the needs of the worker and the offers of the company.
The attitude behind is a fundamental pillar of the intervention approach’s success. Resolutely positive, solution-driven oriented, it is an attitude of mutual respect and esteem, which constitutes the basis of the development of cooperation between actors. Each of them, the employer as well as the person with disabilities, will strive to conduct an honest analysis of their strengths and weaknesses, in a spirit of service to the client.
The whole system is based on clearly laid down standards:
- First of all, ProjektRouter‘s intervention staff: they are trained to support a vulnerable target group and are made of professional trained coaches for pen dialogue and benevolent communication, psychologists and outreach trainers who work within the company, on site, accompanying the placed employees. True „chameleons“, each member of staff knows how to adapt to each person, and to each professional situation.
- Interventions include in situ support, but also in classroom, through individual coaching or group discussion; many of the interventions focus on the concrete practice encountered daily by the employee.
- A fair remuneration from the beginning of the qualification, to guarantee the respect of every worker’s rights.
The router principle allows the interplay of several actions – partly already described in the above paragraphs, all of which contribute to the objective of deploying inclusive services by ProjektRouter.
These activities are:
- vocational training and on-the-job training,
- modular training allowing personal development,
- advice, support and information,
- group coaching,
- additional individual coaching,
- commitment to work, and integration within the organisation.
The cycle of activities above describe can be resumed in the event of a change of professional standing, or change of company.
- Qualified staff, both on the adequate basic attitude in terms of inclusion and on professional coaching techniques;
- Companies able to understand the added value of the inclusion process, thus an important prerequisite for raising awareness actions in order to promote diversity and differences within the structure;
- A favourable institutional environment that enables funding for individualised support policy instead of the development of specialised centres for people with disabilities.
In 2017, eleven years after its launch, ProjektRouter gGmbH qualifies, supports and employs more than 260 people with disabilities in more than 65 companies.
The Router Principle already applies in the following sectors:
- Retail trade
- Hotels, gastronomy, catering
- Kindergartens / nursery schools
- Retirement homes
- Industrial production
- Cleaning companies
- Packing and recycling companies
The Router Principle is the trademark of ProjektRouter, which wants its methodology to be replicated in other parts of Germany.
Various success factors can be identified through the work of ProjektRouter:
- A clear, strong, and high-impact vision of inclusion supported and encouraged by the management;
- Willingness to create sustainable „win-win“ situations with business enterprises by offering solutions and „matching“ the needs of the company and the young person with disabilities in the face of employment: i.e. bridging the difficulties that companies have in finding employees who are reliable for simple and recurrent jobs, and the difficulties for some young people with severe disabilities or learning difficulties, who are seeking to enter the labour market need support in their efforts.
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