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Supported employment

May 4, 2010

Tailored support for people with disabilities who need special assistance

Conversation between trainer and trainee

Supported employment consists of tailored support for people with disabilities who need special assistance. The aim is to obtain an employment contract and thus compulsorily insurable employment on the open labour market. Key in supported employment is the principle of 'placement before training'.

Supported employment is thus based on two vital components:

  • Individual on-the-job-training
    Supported employment begins with individual on-the-job training. This is provided from the outset at workplaces in the open labour market. The person with disabilities is accompanied and supported by a so-called 'job coach' (a mentor). This phase of training can last up to two years and in some cases as long as three. Participants have full social security cover for the duration of their training.
  • Employment support
    If ongoing support is needed once an employment relationship subject to social insurance contributions has been attained, it is provided in the form of employment support. The duration of this assistance depends on the individual needs of the person with disabilities. There is no limit on the length of time it is provided.

Supported employment targets people who are disabled and who need support other than that offered in sheltered workshops. This group includes:

  • School leavers with disabilities.
  • Adults who have become disabled in the course of their (working) life.

Supported employment is not, however, a substitute for vocational training and education or for pre-vocational training schemes. Supported employment ranks second to these measures. Persons who are able enough to train for a job or to take part in a pre-vocational training scheme should make full use of the opportunity.