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Start date: Jun 1, 2015, End date: May 31, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Our two establishments run by UGECAM of Normandy, Medico-Educational Institute « La Garenne » (84 students) and Medico-Professional Institute « La Traverse » (103 students) are located in Lower Normandy and in Upper Normandy, respectively. They both receive young people with intellectual impairment (sometimes with associated troubles). The objective of our educational pedagogical and medical care is to give the young access to ordinary or sheltered workplaces. It is defined in the appendix 24 that holds sway in the medico-social sector in France. Even if our students develop pre-vocational skills in workshops they cannot obtain a government-approved certificate. They have no access to a certified training either, because of their disability. That’s why these students have special educational needs. The current French disability policies, notably the law of 11th February 2005, affirm equal opportunities and non-discrimination as well as including children and adults with disabilities into general educational systems. In this context, we consider the possibility for our students to participate in ERASMUS+ to be a tremendous opportunity. This experience would place them on an equal footing with common students for whom this European experience is easier to gain. Our project entitled “The European pathway to success” is based on our partnership with the region of Sardinia set up in 2013. Our first programme consisted of a cultural exchange. Armed with this first successful experience shared with our Italian colleagues working in the field of disability, we would like to develop a project built on professional dimension. This project involves 12 young persons from the both countries. They would get a professional experience in Italy and France which would be consistent with their vocational projects linked with building, horticulture, catering. This experience would be gained in immersion with a maximum of independence. The organization of 17-day programme is planned as follows: • Young French and Italian people participating in the project as well as their attendants (6 professionals) would be housed in 2 accommodations located in the urban agglomeration in order to develop the following skills: moving in the city, finding one’s way, making purchases, cooking a meal • Living together when you are from different countries is also an important aspect of the programme. Discovering another culture leads to better communication, not to mention entertainment. • Company visits in 3 areas mentioned above would be organized. • Professional immersion would translate into training in different spheres such as farm holidays, market gardening, and farming. In order to do this we have contacted local chambers of commerce, employers’ associations and municipal counsellors. • On the completion of the project, a ceremony would bring together the professionals who received the trainees, disability specialists, and the trainees. During this meeting the trainees who satisfied the assessment requirements would get an attestation of competence. • Attendants, specialists from medico-social establishments (educators, workshop monitors, persons in charge of employment) would find out Italian disability policies, exchanging with Italian counterparts and sharing their experience and methods. Coming back, feedback sessions would be presented in multidisciplinary groups in our establishments. We have found that the dynamics of this project is a unifying and re-energizing element for the staff. One of the points of interest of this programme is in Italian approach to “de-institutionalization”, a term which is still opaque for French specialists. They would be able to discover and exchange on different means of support for the disabled, and use this new experience and skills in their work. This enriching experience would improve the employability of young people with disabilities by fostering positive self-esteem, developing social and vocational skills, upgrading curriculum vitae by this European pathway. Moreover, they would gain esteem in their entourage thanks to participation in this project which is still atypical for the disabled young. In the long run, we would like to incorporate this project into the overall strategy of our establishments. This project will be tracked and assessed at every step of its development.
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