Launch of the InWork-Inserlab training programme for people with special educational needs

Presented to future students and companies on 30 November, the project aims to find employment for young people with intellectual disabilities, developmental disorders and ASD

Graduation of the first class of Inserlab.

From February 2024, fourteen young people will begin to take part in the URV’s InWork-Inserlab project, a training programme for people with special needs that will prepare them for a future job and help them find employment. “Companies are often prejudiced and afraid to recruit personnel from these groups”, explains Teresa Torres, the lecturer coordinating the programme. For this reason, they frequently have to overcome greater difficulties in both the labour market and the academic world.

This proposal, therefore, aims to help solve the problem by educating and training people through work-integrated learning. The pilot test provides 150 hours of training completely free of charge and will take place from February to June 2024. “The programme will show us if the applied methodology works. We also hope that it will help to break down existing stereotypes towards these groups and create more inclusive cultures in companies”, says Teresa Torres.

The URV Foundation initiated the Inserlab project five years ago. Now, the European Social Fund has provided the funding required to launch the new InWork-Inserlab training programme.

Both Inserlab and InWork-Inserlab are designed to respond to the same problem: young people with disabilities have more difficulty in finding a job. However, this new project extends the target population to include people with developmental disorders and autism spectrum disorders as well as students with intellectual disabilities. InWork-Inserlab is also enriched by the vision of other universities and educational systems and collaborates with universities in Italy and Finland.

Inwork-Inserlab Presentation, Thursday, 30 November

On Thursday, 30 November, the InWork-Inserlab training programme was presented in the main lecture theatre of Catalunya Campus (Av. Catalunya, 35, Tarragona), to future students, families, organisations and companies wishing to take part. Registration to join the programme was still open, although most of the places had already been taken.

Work-applied learning

In terms of theoretical content, the classes will focus on providing digital skills and essential tools for work. For example, one subject will train students in mobile applications so that they can apply this knowledge when hired by a company. One of the challenges of this new project is the introduction of artificial intelligence as a tool for everyday work. As for the practical part, students will have to take part in projects with companies through the Service Learning programme if they are to be able to successfully complete the course and be awarded the URV Foundation diploma.

Inserlab: a prize-winning project

The Inserlab training programme won the second prize in the SMILE Awards on Diversity 2023, part of the SMILE Final Symposium, held in Barcelona on 16 November. This event brings together European projects that network with universities promoting inclusive programmes. The awards ceremony aims to give visibility to the way universities address diversity and inclusion. Some of the members of the training programme attended to explain the proposal they launched five years ago.

Teresa Torres explains that this award is a source of great personal satisfaction. “Our group is the most underprivileged of all, and this kind of award makes us known to possible future collaborators”, says Torres.

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