One out of six people in the European Union has a disability that varies from mild to deep, which makes around 80 million people limited in their capabilities to fully participate in the society and economy due to environmental barriers. For disabled people, the poverty rate is 70% higher to the average, due partially to their limited access to work.
However, full economic and social participation of this collective is essential for the 2020 strategy of the European Union to be successful in the creation of an intelligent, sustainable and integrative growth. Building a society that includes everyone also brings market opportunities and fosters innovation. This way, this strategy starts a process oriented towards preparing disabled people so they can fully participate in the society in equal conditions with the rest.
This European Strategy is visible in the frame of article 19 of the Convention of the United Nations about the Rights of Disabled People (living independently and being included in the community). To carry out a total implementation one of the key aspects is responding to the right to personal assistance through the recognition of the key role of these workers for dependent people.
Both the development and the recognition of this profession are unequal among European countries. From the 80`s and 90´s personal assistance services have been implemented in northern Europe. In countries like Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany the role of personal assistants has existed for years. This role was promoted by the Movement of Independent Life, born in the United States in the 70´s.
EU-Assistant has as main objectives:
- Contributing to the development of a formative itinerary for personal assistants.
- Providing a curriculum and materials according to MEQ.
- Raise awareness around this profession and its importance.
In order to achieve this, we defined a set of professional skills and a training path. Taking them as reference, we designed a basic course to empower Personal Assistants in an environment of collaborative learning.