The final Conference of the Project “Cross-border partnership for inclusive career guidance” took place today in Chisinau. The project was implemented by Keystone Moldova in partnership with “Close to You” Romania Foundation, during 2020-2022. The aim of the project was to increase the access to the labor market of young people with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova and Iasi, Romania by developing the capacities of relevant actors in the field of education and employment in providing quality and inclusive career guidance services.
“Career guidance for young people with disabilities is important in their preparation for independent living and achieving social inclusion. This project focused on training the professionals from the education and employment systems of the Republic of Moldova and Iasi / Romania; they already can provide quality and inclusive career guidance services that meet the needs of people with disabilities,” mentioned Ludmila Malcoci, Executive Director of Keystone Moldova.
In order to determine the level of access young people with disabilities had to career guidance services, the Sociological Study “Policies and practices of career guidance for young people with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova” was conducted. The study shows that 94% of young people with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova consider that they need career guidance activities in order to increase their chances of employment and to have a decent life. At the same time, 50% of all young people with disabilities surveyed mentioned that they are not at all / little prepared for access to the labor market. The study also contains 20 recommendations to increase the access of people with disabilities to career guidance activities.
As a result of the project’s activities, national policies and tools on information and career guidance for people with disabilities have been improved. Keystone Moldova provided technical support for the development of the Minimum Quality Standards for the career guidance services provided by the National Employment Agency of the Republic of Moldova. At the same time, Training Curricula and Handbooks were developed: “Counseling and career guidance of people with disabilities” and “Mediating access to the labor market of people with disabilities.” Based on these materials, continuing vocational training programs on career guidance and labor intermediation have been accredited. The materials are intended for students and teachers in vocational technical and higher education institutions, as well as specialists in the field of employment of people with disabilities, and providers of vocational guidance services.
Six hundred and sixty-five people from both banks of the Prut River were trained in the fields of career guidance and the transition from school to work of young people with disabilities. These are people who can provide support for career guidance and labor intermediation—students, teachers, specialists from the Employment Agencies, school psychologists, specialists from the Psychopedagogical Assistance Services, parents:
- “We should not forget that people with disabilities can and want to work and do everything we can to help them get hired.” (Employment Agency specialist);
- “In the educational inclusion of people with disabilities the collaboration between teachers, parents, and psychologist matters. Without partnership we do not achieve anything.” (teacher);
- “We want to promote the culture of inclusion in the Republic of Moldova. Even if the person with disabilities will not achieve great academic performance, from a social point of view—it is important to be included in an educational institution.” (teacher);
- “We would like to help people with disabilities find their place in society, get employed and have a fulfilling life. We hope to be able to change something for the better!” (student).
In March and April 2022, the Caravan “From School to Work” was held – three events were organized on the right and left banks of the Prut River. The intention of the events was to facilitate communication between key actors in the field of career orientation and guidance and to reflect good practices and challenges in the field. Three hundred and seventy-three people participated in the events: employers, people with disabilities, career guidance centers, psycho-pedagogical assistance services, employment agencies, local decision makers, CSOs, etc.
“The most valuable asset we each have is the knowledge we accumulate throughout our lives. This cross-border project is an investment in the development of human resources in the Republic of Moldova and Romania, to ensure the right context for the socio-professional integration of people with disabilities. The biggest challenge for people with disabilities in the labor market is not necessarily finding a job, but finding an accessible job and maintaining it. We are convinced that this project is a medium and long term investment that creates premises for people with disabilities to have access to jobs that meet their needs, and we are here to guide them through this career path,” said Angela Achiței, President of “Close to You” Romania Foundation.
It is important to mention the partnerships created within the project, to promote inclusive career guidance and to ensure the sustainability of the project. Partnerships have been established with: the Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Moldova, the Republican Center of Psychopedagogical Assistance in the Republic of Moldova, the National Employment Agency in the Republic of Moldova, the County Agency for Employment in Iasi, the State Pedagogical University “Ion Creanga” in Chisinau, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iasi.
The Project “Cross-border partnership for inclusive career guidance” (2SOFT / 1.1 / 145), was implemented by Keystone Moldova in partnership with “Close to You” Romania Foundation, financed by European Union through the Joint Operational Program Romania–Republic of Moldova 2014-2020, through the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI).