SEE Inclusion - SEE the Gaps
SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps is a ten-year project initiated by the Centre for Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and the Coordinating Centre for Students with Disabilities at the University of Kelaniya to work towards bridging the gaps that give rise to barriers for individuals with a disadvantage to access education and employment due to disability and other factors. The gaps to inclusion often result from a lack of practical support frameworks and mechanisms for people at disadvantage to gain active participation and equal opportunities for education and employment. The project SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps will work to create partnerships to establish these frameworks and mechanisms and their practical application in Sri Lanka. It is a three-part project addressing the gaps in the constructs of self, education and employment at the levels of knowledge creation, dissemination, skill development and attitudinal ideologies.
‘SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps - Employment Sri Lanka’
In October 2016, ‘SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps - Employment Sri Lanka’ was initiated with the aim of introducing the model of Supported Employment at the levels of knowledge creation, dissemination and to develop positive attitudinal ideologies and practical skills by creating relevant courses including training of Supported Employment Officers in Sri Lanka, to address the employment needs of individuals at a disadvantage due to disability. Supported Employment enables people who are disadvantaged and excluded from the mainstream workforce to access and maintain gainful employment as equal citizens.
As a first step towards introducing the model of Supported Employment to Sri Lanka, a nine member cohort of Sri Lankan women undertook training on a three month certificate course in Supported Employment which included attending a two-week face to face training in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment (NIUSE), The Open Training College, Dublin in Nov–Dec 2016. The cohort consisted of five members of the academic staff representing the Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) of the Department of Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine and the Coordinating Centre for Students with Disabilities (CCSD) of the University Kelaniya, an academic from the University of Jayawardenapura, representatives from the Employers’ Federation and MAS Holdings and the Principal of the Nuffield School for the Deaf in Jaffna. This training will lead to the cohort obtaining a Certificate in Supported Employment on successful completion of the assessment process. The Certificate in Supported Employment is a professional qualification targeting needs of people working as job coaches and employment facilitators. It is a QQI (Quality & Qualification Ireland) Level 7 Special Purpose Award (20 credits). Successful completion of the course will provide participants with the tools required to facilitate job seekers into work experience, job sampling (supported internships) and/or supported employment opportunities in the open market. The course uses a ‘blended’ approach which combines online learning, virtual tutorials and face to face workshops. The member organizations of the NIUSE also arranged for practitioner observation study visits for the cohort of nine to experience ‘theory in practice’ and to engage with both service providers and service users.
The cohort of nine were also invited to make a presentation at the event titled “Collaboration Celebrations” at the Northern Ireland Parliament, Stormont, on the 30th of November 2016. This event was hosted by MLA Robin Swan with the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment(NIUSE). This event highlighted the history of the collaboration between Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka and discussed the pathways forward.