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Jobs for people with intellectual disabilities: A Finnish experiment of corporate social responsibility . Heikki Seppälä The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD) Helsinki, Finland. People with ID and their employment.

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Heikki Seppälä The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD)

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Heikki sepp l the finnish association on intellectual and developmental disabilities faidd

Jobs for people with intellectual disabilities: A Finnish experiment of corporate social responsibility

Heikki Seppälä

The Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD)

Helsinki, Finland


People with id and their employment

People with ID and their employment

  • The population of Finland: 5 450 000

  • 45 000 people with ID, 23 000 are 18-65 years old

  • ca. 300 sheltered workshops for people with ID around the country, 14 000 people taking part in their activities

    • activities for people with severe/profound ID: 3 800

    • workshops (assembly and packing of products; textile work and weaving; wood and metal work; art): 7 700

    • 2 500 people are ”outplaced” from sheltered workshops to ordinary workplaces – no job contract, no salary, only a small fee of 5-12€/day (in addition to disability pension)

    • 350-400 are in paid jobs with normal job contracts


The old system is in crisis because

The old system is in crisis, because…

People with ID are much better educated than before, many have vocational training  they want real jobs

The sheltered workshops are full, but more and more people are coming out of schools, looking for work

The traditional service system based on sheltered workshops is expensive

Workshops are segregative, isolated and too much disability-centered (instead of being ability-centered)

Some current practices violate the human rights of users (eg. working without job contract / salary)


The society is calling for a change too

The society is calling for a change, too

The baby boom generations (born 1945-50) are retiring, new workforce is needed to fill the gap left by them

The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities has enhanced a major change in the values and objectives of the disability policy in the country

More taxpayers are needed to finance the welfare society; people with disabilities are seen as one possible potential

 New impulses to open the doors for people with disabilities to the labour market are needed


A finnish experiment of corporate social responsibility

A Finnish experiment of corporate social responsibility.


Corporate social responsibility csr

Corporate social responsibility CSR

Not just giving money to charity, but…

“A company’s sense of responsibility towards the community and environment (both ecological and social) in which it operates. Companies express this citizenship

(1) through their waste and pollution reduction processes,

(2) by contributing educational and social programs,

(3) by earning adequate returns on the employed resources.”(http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/corporate-social-responsibility.html)


Faidd and csr

FAIDD and CSR

  • Recently, FAIDD has invested a lot of effort to approaching some big companies, inviting them to discuss issues of social responsibility.

    • A NGO like FAIDD can give companies opportunities to join social programs which promote the citizenship and participation of people with special needs

  • Our campaign to promote the employment of people with intellectual disabilities is one of the first results of this effort.


K retailers association

K-retailers´ Association

K-chain is one of the two major chains of shops in Finland. The K-retailers´ Association (KA) has >1200 shopkeeper members around the country

As a part of its 100th anniversary 2012, KA wanted to promote the employment of people with ID in K-groceries, department stores, fuel stations, hardware stores etc.

It gave FAIDD some money to do the actual job.


An unholy alliance

An unholy alliance…

  • A project contract between FAIDD and KA was made

    • At first April-December 2012, then continued till May 2013

  • The role and contribution of each was defined

    • KA gave the money (80 000€ altogether)

    • KA gave FAIDD the necessary information to contact the >1200 shopkeepers, plus the necessary knowhow about shopkeepers, their needs and challenges etc.

    • KA used its media and contact networks to encourage the shopkeepers to join the project and employ people with ID

    • FAIDD gave the knowhow about SE, defined the limits (only paid jobs and normal job contracts, only with the support from local job coaches) and did the actual job


One job coach a laptop and a phone

One job coach, a laptop and a phone

  • One job coach was recruited to the project

  • Her main task: to help the interested shopkeepers and job seekers to find each other, in cooperation with the local job coach

  • An information letter by e-mail to every >1200 K-shop-keepers was sent four times May2012 – Feb2013

    • What is the campaign about?

    • Why is it a good idea to employ someone with ID? What could he/she do in the shop?

    • How is it done – some practical advice

    • How to proceed?


Then it started to happen

Then it started to happen

  • The e-mail campaign to the members of KA resulted in closer negotiations with 71 individual shopkeepers around the country

    • … and 80 local job coaches

    • … and 15 local employment offices

  • 102 articles in newspapers and magazines telling about the project; 8 times on TV or radio news; a DVD

  • Presentations in many seminars and congresses; continuous reporting also to the Ministery of Health and Welfare and the Ministery of Employment and Economy


Heikki sepp l the finnish association on intellectual and developmental disabilities faidd

20 new jobs for people with intellectual disabilities from May 2012 till April 2013 ( ).

In addition, 15 more cases where the process is still going on and will most probably result in signing a job contract ( ).

The success rate was 50%. There were 36 cases which did not result in signing a job contract.


Some numbers

Some numbers

  • 2/3 of the employees had a disability pension and wanted to keep it

    • The limit of monthly extra income is 734 €  these people can take only part-time jobs (+/- 20h a week)

  • In 17/20 cases the employer was granted a wage subsidy by the local employment office

  • In 6/20 cases the employee was the first person with ID in the community who was employed in a ”real job”

  • 20/20 fixed-period job contracts at the beginning, many of these have already changed into permanent contracts

  • 2/20 failures in recruitment


Some processes are still going on

Some processes are still going on

  • Some of them are new cases, proceeding normally

  • In some cases it has been difficult to find a job coach in the community to support the employee and the employer

    • The project has given an impulse to improve the local job coaching services in at least 10 communities

  • In some cases a struggle with the local employment office was needed

    • Negative attitudes towards supporting the employment people with disability pension


Failures too

Failures, too

  • Contacts with 36 shopkeepers did not result in getting a job for someone with ID (50%)

  • In 1/3 of the cases the employer wanted to keep the old arrangement: an ”outplaced” worker from the workshop, no job contract, no salary

  • In 2/3 of the cases there were negative attitudes by the officials and/or lack of proper support network for the jobseeker and the employer

    • The empoyment office refused to grant a wage subsidy

    • No competent job coach in the community

    • The local ID services did not support the employment of their users


Inputs and outputs

Inputs and outputs

  • One year, 80 000 € - what did we get?

  • 30 new jobs for people with intellectual disability (2600-2700€ / employed person)

  • An impulse to develop better SE services in at least 10 communities around the country

    • Practical guidance for 80 job coaches and 15 employment offices

  • Huge and positive media publicity, both for KA and K-shopkeepers and FAIDD and the people with ID

  • New contacts to the relevant ministeries, possibilities to contribute the future employment strategies in Finland


A learning experience

A learning experience

  • An alliance between private sector and a NGO can be very fruitful:

    • The NGO can support the company in finding a good way to show social responsibility through eg. a social program

    • The NGO has the necessary knowhow to carry out the plan

    • Working together with the private sector can be very straightforward; it is easy to make quick decisions and just to go into action

    • An alliance with such an organisation as KA is a shortcut to new contact networks that would otherwise be more or less inaccessible to NGO´s


Heikki sepp l the finnish association on intellectual and developmental disabilities faidd

A nation-wide alliance like ours can give a strong impulse to developing the service network and its practices

The shopkeepers and the people with intellectual disability are not the problem, but the attitudes and out-of-date practices of the staff in ID services and employment offices

The shopkeepers suffer from high turnover of their part-time staff – they see people with ID as a real possibility to recruit reliable, motivated and permanent staff

There are no success stories without the contribution of competent job coaches


Thank you

Thank you!


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