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Elisabet Björk-Norrgård

Perspectives on the Training and Employment of People with Disabilities

2003 is the European Year of Disabled People. It aims to raise awareness of the rights of disabled people across Europe and encourage their full participation in society. During the year the European Union wants to pay attention to the treatment of disabled people by society and the direct and indirect discrimination which occurs in order to improve conditions for the better. It will also look at how opportunities for people with disabilities in the areas of training and employment can be increased.

In order to examine discrimination and how to improve the conditions of disabled people in training and employment the Swedish Vocational Institute and CEEH (Conféderation Européenne pour l´Emploi des Handicapés) is organising an international congress in June with the theme: 'Perspectives on the Training and Employment of People with Disabilities'.

The congress will specifically pay attention to integration within different levels of educational attainment and relations to working life. There will be two days of congress with lots of seminars and discussions with experts from both Finland and Europe. Over 200 participants are expected to the congress which will be one of the biggest ever arranged in Finland within the field.

Your host will be the Swedish Vocational Institute which aims to provide integrated education for disabled people. The Swedish Vocational Institute already provides integrated education in domestic sciences and gardening. In 2003 the Institute will start to provide masseur training for people with a visual impairment towards a recognised vocational qualification. The training will be held in English and is part of a European project being undertaken with partner organisations in Sweden, England, Portugal and Italy. The Institute also has basic in-service training for staff working with disabled people.

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