Many businesses regard workplace accessibility as an inconvenient and costly obligation rather than an opportunity. The Workplace Inclusion 4.0 project aims to provide integrated training which will enable participants to improve the situation at work for people with disabilities. This will also enhance the company’s profile.
The legal position is clear. All public goods and services must be fully accessible. This will make it easier for around 15 percent of the population to live independently and, with an ageing population, this percentage is set to increase. Yet there is widespread ignorance of the differing requirements of various types of disability and, despite prescribed standards, unhindered access is often not available.
A project involving Franz Niederl, lecturer at the Institute of Internet Technology & Applications, is working to solve this problem. The project aims to develop a new training course entitled Workplace Inclusion 4.0. The project was launched on 1 October 2017 and will run until 30 September 2019.
The key aim of the project is to improve the situation at work for people with disabilities and to better integrate them into the workplace. Initially a study will look into the current status as regards the occupational integration of people with disabilities in various European regions. The best practice examples gathered will be incorporated into teaching and study materials created for a training course which will subsequently be trialled.
This trial course will be held in Greece, Finland, Italy, Turkey and Austria, the five participating partner countries. Finally the trial courses will be evaluated and the WI4.0 training improved based on the results. The programme is specifically aimed at business consultants and HR staff, particularly at universities, in order to improve the working conditions of people with disabilities in the long term.
The project will result in the creation of an integrated training package which will enable participants to improve the situation at work for people with disabilities. Awareness of the issue will be effectively raised and participants can also receive a certificate on completion of the training.
The WI4.0 training course is also suitable for people with disabilities however so that, acting as experts for their own cause, they are able to improve their own situation at work. The course is in line with national implementation of the European Qualifications Framework.
The training will be continued after the project comes to an end in autumn 2019 and the course documents can be accessed online. Certification can also be obtained after the project has terminated. Participants’ increased expertise represents an important step for further positive developments towards greater accessibility in working life.